Posts Tagged ‘Parikrama’

Rows of drawers, intersected by tables and chairs, fill my dream screen. I open one and taking off my diamond earrings from my ears, place them inside one of these drawers, taking care that it is at the bottom of the drawer, underneath some papers. When I come to look for it later, I am unable to locate the exact drawer in which I have placed it. I look all over the place, even take help of my colleague, but I cannot find the ring. I give up knowing it will be impossible for me to find it, in these rows upon rows of drawers, since I cannot tell in exactly which one I have placed the earring. I am also aware that even if someone else has found it quite by mistake, they will have taken it. In other words, I have lost my diamond earrings to someone else. I touch my ear lobes and yes, it is not there.

On his parikrama of the Narmada, Swami Buddhananda comes across a poor couple living in a thatched house. As all people are, all along the route, they are very keen to feed the yatris, the pilgrims. On a parikrama of the Narmada, no food, or money, no extra clothings are allowed to be taken along. One has to live in total surrender to NarmadeMata to provide whatever is needed. The poor couple are unsure weather the Swami will finally eat food prepared by them. The Swami agrees to accept their offer. A meal is prepared and with great shraddha, Swami ji is fed. After he has partaken of the food, he gets to know that the poor couple are Muslims. Swami Buddhananda, born to a very religious Brahmin family from Karnataka, gave up his worldly ego-centered life to pursue a God-centered life while still in his youth and from being a bramacharya, he was ordained into sanyassa after many years under the vigilant eyes of his Guru. For a second, just for a few moments, Swami ji is a bit shaken. Has he now polluted his superior birth as a Brahmin by eating food cooked by a Muslim, that too on a holy mission like, NarmadaParikrama? But he is in a fix only for those moments; it quickly dawns to him, he is a Sannyasi and a sannyasi has no caste; no creed, he is beyond it all. He drops the idea and moves on with gratitude in his heart for the poor couple who so lovingly fed him with a meal.
In both the cases above, there is a holding on to something forever. In my dream, the diamonds which is associated with “forever” and in the case of the Swami, his caste, Brahmin, something he is born as and dies with and is forever a part of his life. However, in both cases, that which is “forever, is left behind.

Freudian Interpretation of dream:

The rows of drawers are the different compartments of my mind. In some part of my mind I have stored, even hidden “something” – a feeling, incident, whatever. It is a precious gem of a memory , a something I associate with forever. However, for whatever reason, I have now lost it. I am unable to find it. It is something that has been dropped from my mind – that something, someone – I associated with the concept of forever, I have lost and most probably it has been found by someone else. I do not know the new owners, nor am I concerned. I drop the idea of trying to find what I thought to be forever mine.

Whether it a diamond or our caste, anything we hold to be permanent in our lives is only transitory. There is no way to hold on to things, they come, on a visit, they pass as they will. This is the river of life, this is the journey, the parikrama, people come, people go, things belong to us for a few moments, then we lose them or they change hand; this is ourjourney, the parikrama, with many people and things. But all are only visitors and just as surely as they came, they will also go. So are we to hold on to that which has passed. Even if we try, we cannot. It is not with us anymore. It has already gone.

A often quoted story in Buddhist circles is about these two monks who are on their way from one village to another and come across a river. They have to cross the river. It is getting late in the day, and they see that an old lady is also standing on the banks waiting to cross and she needs to be helped. The monks are in a fix. As monks they are forbidden from even look at a woman of any age, leave alone touch her. But one of the monks decides that he is not going to leave the aged woman on this bank and cross himself. He carries the woman on his shoulder and crosses the river. On arriving on the other side, he puts her down and continues on his way to the hermitage with the other monk. On arrival, the first monk relates to the others how the second monk had carried a woman on his shoulder thereby breaking his monastic vow.

The second monk listened to the first relating the story. Then he turns to him and says, ” I have left the woman on the bank long ago, but you are still carrying her in your head.”
The story is the same about everything in life; when something has completed it’s purpose in our lives it either drops out, or we drop it from our minds. There is no need to look back again. What has been left behind has ceased to be ours.



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We are on the Ganga, mid-stream, sitting in a boat that is full of people. It is dusk. The air is heavy with sounds from the temples around. Conches, bells fill the air. In front of us the entire ghat is covered with people, waiting for the Ganga aarti. Behind us, as the golden sun is gradually receding behind the horizon, the two burning ghats on either side of the river, Manikarnika and Harishchandra throw orange flames into the sky. At the same time, the pujaris begin the Ganga aarti. Huge lamps burn and deafening sound of bhajans fill the air. We watch spell bound can there ever be such a beautiful sight on earth which at one and the same time portrays the entire gamut of human life on earth? On the one hand, the rising diya, a symbol of life and on the other, the receding sun and then the burning ghats. I sit transfixed in the moment. My grandmother died in Benaras. My surrogate father died in Benaras. I too will die in Benaras..Suddenly the scene changes and I see my partner at a Police Station. I am lost. She is looking for me. The policeman says, why are you looking for her? It is so good that she has got lost in BenarasI wake up from my dream, a little dazed.

On his parikrama of the Narmada, Swami Buddhananda passes through many jungles and has to rely on local help to sometimes find his way. Somehow, even before he asks for the help, someone comes along and helps. Swami ji is ever grateful to so many pilgrims he passes by and so many people who are poor villagers who come to his help, with food, medicine, and guidance. Throughout the parikrama, at no point are the pilgrims allowed to cross the river Narmada. They have to walk around the river if ever she comes on their way. Therefore, when Swami Buddhananda comes across three canals close to Baruch where Narmada meets the sea, he is confused as to which is Narmada. He waits for an answer. No one is around. Suddenly, from the blue, a young cowherd boy comes along and he tells Swami ji which out of these three canals is the Narmada. Swami ji goes around it and moves on in his journey.
Freudian Interpretation of dream:

In my dream, Ganga represents life and life after. I am sitting in the boat, the boat which is this earth. All the people in the boat are also fellow travelers on this journey. There is the vision of life in the burning diyas in front of me and there is the vision of a receding sun behind me. I see the burning ghats on either side. Death, here causes me no fear. It is the death of a part of me and the birth of another. The diyas are a spiritual symbol, it is the birth of a spiritual self, and the death of a ego-self I allow and see recede like the setting sun. The enquiry at the police station a symbol of authority confirms that I am lost to the life I have known, for the life I now embrace, a life I am lost in, the life of a spiritual traveler. Lost in Benaras, is only a symbol of waking up to a spiritual life, a life akin to my Higher Self.

Whether it is finding your way around the Narmada or losing your way in Benaras, the events of our lives will carry us to where we are supposed to go. Someone, somewhere, will facilitate that process and we will be lead, in spite of our selves into that path. Thus, it is better to surrender to the Will of the Higher Power within us, whether we call it God, existence, whatever. It is easier to flow with the stream than to swim against it. In that state, we are in a let go. We are not fighting with the laws on nature, our nature, and our swabhava.

A Sufi Master lived in his little hut by the river. One day, a woman he did not know or had ever seen came and left a baby at his door and then she went away. The Sufi Master, who had never ever had to look after children, was left with no choice but to look after this child left in his custody. He took on to doing that, thinking that the mother would come and take the child sometime later during the day. But the mother never came. Not today, not tomorrow, not day after. Years passed and the child grew into a lovely girl of thirteen. Now in the hut there were two people who lived the Sufi Master and this girl. One day a woman came, with tattered clothes and asked the Sufi Master for the girl she had left with him many years ago. The Sufi Master asked the young girl to come. Seeing the girl, the woman burst into bouts of loving adoration ” My child” she said, ” I have come to take you. Come with me”. And just as she had left the child with the Sufi Master without giving any explanations, she also took the child away without giving the Sufi Master any explanations. Not even a thank you. Nothing changed for the Master. Just as he had not had any child around him at the beginning; he had none now. So he just carried on with his life as he used to. Never a regret, never a question. He was in the flow of things if someone came and left something for him, it was with him; when they came and took it away, he just let it go.

The story is the same about everything in life; when we are ready to move into the next groove in our lives, we simply must go with the flow. There is no need to look back again. Just let go and go with the flow.


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