During the long Diwali holidays, in the silicon valley of India, I was wondering what to do? Obviously, after spending some time with friends and family, I got sometime for myself, to introspect. I was wondering, what this world is where I am living? As described in the 15th Chapter of Gita ' The world we see is like a Asvattha tree, with roots above, branches below and the leaves are hymns of the Vedas, sense-objects are its buds. But this inverted looking tree is actually an illusion like the reflection of a real tree in water. No one can see the origin or end of the branches, but all jivas (living beings, including human beings) just jump from branches to branches; take births after births, till they realize they have to cut the branches and get themselves free from it.
As I pondered more over this description of our world, my ignorant, 'IT-lectual' mind got more confused. It's true, I am living in the high-tech, internet and mobile communication enabled era. Science is making it possible to communicate with any one, any where, as fast as possible. But how many true friends have I been able to make? In a hurry to move ourselves before our cheese moves, we are changing our career, place and people, like a monkey jumps from branch to branch. But how many of us are happy and satisfied after all? And do we know where the end is?
My grand mother suggested, this is the holy 'Kartika' month, the month of Rahi-Damodar (Radha Krishna). Why don't we go and pay a visit to Lord Krishna in his temple? We went to the ISKCON Temple here in Bangalore. After offering my puja to the Lord and the other idols in the temple, I found, my family members were already seated at one of the corner of the temple. The place was very crowded as some Bhajan was about to be started in the temple. I some how managed to get a place next to my family members. All the idols in the temple are kept in a row. The Radha-Krishna idol is at the center. Because of the crowd, I was somewhat feeling irritated. From my place, however best I tried, I could see only 'Radha-' and not '-Krishna' of the Radha-Krishna idol. The face of 'Radha' was glowing with love. But I was getting more irritated as I was not able to see the face of 'Krishna'.
Suddenly I felt, something is changing in me. Devotees started offering 'diyas' (earthen-candles) to the lord, the music started and the lady started the Bhajan 'Ohm Govindam'I felt, I am getting relaxed, no more irritation with the crowd and my eyes getting closed, taking me into a meditative position. I put myself to a meditative posture and closed my eyes ' I could see (feel) Lord Krishna, smiling, ready to communicate with me, in silence. I was overjoyed, but surprised. I opened my eyes slowly. Again I could see the face of 'Radha' only, glowing with love, but was unable to see the face of Lord Krishna. Surprised, I closed my eyes; the Lord was there, smiling.
I asked Lord Krishna 'What is this confusion? When I meditate on you, I can communicate with you. But when I open my eyes, why can I see only 'Radha' and not you?'
Krishna said 'There is no confusion. In reality, you know that you seek me. Whenever you have asked for me from the inner core of your heart, I have shown you the thread to reach me. You are so used to this illusory world, you trust all unreal as real (you, your relations, your environments, your knowledge and even your thoughts). But when I actually show you the real, you doubt it.'
Unable to understand the answer of Lord Krishna, I asked again ' 'I wanted to see your face. But however much I try, I am only able to see the face of 'Radha' and not you. I know you are the only 'absolute real'. I am not able to see that, and you are saying ' 'I am not able to understand the reality'. Oh Lord, please be kind on me and clear my confusion'.
Krishna smiled, and said 'You wanted to see me ' actually you see me everyday, every moment, every where, in all these people, in all these idols, in the mirror when you see your own face every morning. All these are ME only and none other. But you don't realize that, because of your non-real, short-term bonding to this illusory world. You are like a big powerful elephant, which is tied with a small rope to a small hook. In reality, you yourself have the power to try and break the rope and get yourself free rather than wait for someone to unhook you. When you tried finding me here with the help of your senses, you could not see me because your senses of this world are impure and before seeking me, you did not try to free your senses from impurity. But I am very much here, all the time, in the past, now and in the future.'
'How could I see you then, when I closed my eyes?' I asked the creator.
He replied ' 'Seeking me, you reached 'Radha'. She is the first step to reach me. She is the manifestation of PURE LOVE. It is that divine love which cleansed your senses and unhooked you from the unreal. After you got unhooked, you came out of the illusion for some time (closed your unreal eyes) and became real, looked into that chamber of your heart, where dwells pure love and that's where I reside. You found me there.'
I enquired ' 'Hey Govinda, hey Madhaba, my abilities are limited. I am governed by the rules of this world. It is just seeing Radha in this temple for sometime, I got unhooked from unreality and could find you. But I live in this world created by you, where I can not come to the temple everyday, and get blessings of Radha to unhook me from the unreal from time to time. You said I have the potential to break the rope of attachment myself and can see you all the time. How can I do that?'
Krishna said ' 'Twam Radha Bhava' (You Become Radha).
Surprised with the answer, I asked ' 'I am Chinmaya. How can I be Radha? If you are referring to attaining a particular state 'Radhahood', please advise me how I shall attain that state?'
The God replied ' 'To know that, first you have to understand WHAT IS RADHA? Radha is me and I am Radha. All the knowledge combined of this universe is not sufficient to understand me as the universe itself and its beings are created from me. When you want to know me or see me with your worldly knowledge alone, I am beyond your comprehension. However, when you accept me and love me madly, I become yours. It is that PURE LOVE in you, that lets you know how to seek me, how to know me. RADHA is that pure love in every jiva (being). When you say Radha-Krishna, Radha Madhava or Radha Murari, you actually say I (Chinmaya) ' Love (Radha) ' Krishna (Bramha). When you say that, you get unhooked from maya (unreal), you can know me, you can know that you (Chinmaya) and Bramha are the same and not different. After you realize this, the unreal 'I' in you does not exist any more (as it becomes me). What exists is only the real; 'Love ' Bramha' (Radha-Krishna). And as Love (Radha) itself is an expression of the Bramha (Krishna) only, everything ends at Bramha (Krishna). So to reach ME (Bramha), Radha (Love) is the dhara (flow), raha (road), sutra (formula).
How do you become 'Radha'? You love me as Radha used to love me. The Love of Radha was eternal, pure and selfless. In her love, she just sought Krishna (Bramha) and nothing else. She sought ME when she was sorrowful; she sought ME when she was happy. She thought of ME when she was crying, she thought of ME when she was playing with her friends. Every count of her life she lived, she did so with ME (my name). Her love for me was so pure and exalted, though she lived in this world of maya (illusion), she could break the strings of unreality. With her pure consciousness, she could always see me, find me whenever she wanted. When you will seek me intensely and your love for me will become eternal, pure and selfless, you will attain 'Radhahood', you will become 'Radha'. When you will attain that state, all your actions, all your knowledge will be directed towards me. You will be able to break the ropes of attachment of this illusory world. The confusion of duality and unity will vanish from your mind. Like when Radha used to look at the mirror, she used to see my face; you will also become one with me. You will find me all the time.'
I opened my eyes, offered my prayers to the idols again. While coming out of the temple, one of the devotees, having a 'Gita' in one hand asked me 'Have you read this book?' I shook my head affirmatively. He raised his hand at the heavens, looked at me with a blessing and said 'Arise'
After coming home, I thought about my communication with God. Shall I be able to love God eternally, purely and selflessly? Like Radha, shall I be able to help myself and other people of my world to become a flow and take the road to God? Only time will tell'
When I wanted to retire for the day and tried sleeping, the blessing of the devotee got replayed on my mental video, again and again ' 'Arise, Arise, Arise'..'