What ever happens is for our own good. It was in 2002, I was in Delhi, was enjoying life there, had a successful career, had good friends to share my joys and sorrows with. I was confident (and cool, I guess) and was sure of myself that I can take up any challenge in life. As every year I used to do, I thought I will visit Mata Vaisno Devi. Came the divine call, I visited Vaisno devi and after some time Dargah in Rajasthan. Whenever I used to visit any holy place, I used to pray for my own peace, growth, health etc. But this time was different ' I prayed and asked the mother as well at Dargah ' Tell me- what is the purpose of my life? And bless me, so that I will be able to make good progress in that line'
After only a few days, my prayer was granted (or is it because of destiny???). I got a call from Infosys and got selected to join their Bangalore office. For quite some time, I was not sure, whether to leave my comfy zone in Delhi and to relocate to a new place. But I guess finally destiny made the choice for me. I came to Bangalore, quite confident of myself. The first few months were quite good. Made new friends. Joined a dance class (which I wanted to do for quite sometime), good weather of Bangalore, small city, so no problem in Driving. I was living like a king. I was enjoying life to the fullest.
Came the twist in life... It was Ganesh Cahturthi in 2003, I went to see Ooty with a colleague. During the night, I felt I am getting breathless. After a few days, it was diagnosed as vertigo (an ENT problem). I used to feel dizzy all the time. Everything in life slowed down ' from work to entertainment. Thing worsened, later it was diagnosed as a cyst in the brain (with the thought itself, I got very scared). Even with treatment of best of the doctors, I had a seizure and my shoulder got fractured. I was operated. Life slowed down further. I had to be on leave and became dependent on others for my day-to-day things for sometime. It was not over. After coming back to Bangalore, I started facing new problems. Starting from finding a driver to managing time for my job as well my treatment became a big challenge for me. My friends started slowly avoiding me. The confident Chinmaya asked himself ' Why??? Why me???
The moment came; I had to take a call. Whether to stay in Bangalore, far from family and continue the struggle or to go back to Orissa? Someone within me told me ' 'stay here and face it'. I listened to the voice. My family decided, some one will stay with me till I fully recover. I was feeling empty, both from inside and outside. I knew, I can't do anything for the emptiness outside, but for the emptiness inside, I started reading books (on life, spirituality etc).
It was before Janmashtami. I went to the ISKCON temple here (Bangalore). After offering puja, I was sitting in front of the god and was observing the activities there. People of all ages were coming and going. They were bowing in front of the god with closed eyes. Some of them taking turns with both hands raised. Small children, not able to make out the difference between a temple and home, were playing around. Some of them, preaching as devotees, instructing their family to make offerings. Some of the devotees were wearing the temple uniform with 'tilak' on their forehead and distributing prashadam (as prashad is pronounced in southern India) to everyone. The golden statue of Lord Krishna, with a flute in his hand and a mystical smile on his face was observing all this. I thought for a moment ' are not we all fools? At some point in our life (or even throughout), all of us suffer and go through some miseries. Depending on the level of our miseries, small or big, we look around for help. It is the time we expect ' from the world, from our relations, from close friends. When all the doors seem closed, we don't see any end to the tunnel of our suffering or we don't see the rays of hopes, we get up early in the morning, take bath, burn incense at home, buy coconut and flowers and visit as many temples as possible. Some of us even go out of our cities to visit temples in other areas. Isn't it something unreal, impractical? Isn't it like a negotiation ' we offer coconut and in return we ask - you give me this this and this. Also the idol kept as god is being fooled as he is doing no activities, just observing.
Suddenly that mystical smile of Lord Krishna pierced through my eyes and he said something into my ears ' in silence. My mind was concentrated at his feet and we both were communicating. He just said few verses of a Sanskrit Shloka , which I heard long time back but never remembered. He said 'Jagat Mithya, Bramha Satya'.
I asked 'what?'
He said, 'yes, what you were thinking just now, the world, you yourself, your sufferings, even what ever activities you are observing here, the false prayers, the closing of eyes while asking something in return ' everything is false (mithya), part of illusion (maya).'
Quite surprised, I asked 'what ' you are the creator, you created me, my relations, my environment, all these people, the world- and you are saying all these is mithya (false). What is satya (truth) than?'
He affirmed ' 'yes, whatever you see, you are experiencing is all mithya, part of illusion. The only truth is ME, the Bramha, the consciousness'.
Again confused, I asked him 'you are the creator, you created me, you created my environment. And it is because of my environment, I am put into such sufferings. When you know, all these is not the truth, but illusion only, why did you created this illusion (mithya)?'.
He replied 'truth exist because false exist. Without false there is no truth. I created mithya (illusion), so that you will go through it, take it as real and will suffer again and again. You will reach a point, when you will find yourself alone and will ask your self for the first time ' why? As you will suffer again and again, you will ask yourself again and again why? why?. You will realize 'whatever you are going after, even if you get it sometimes, can not satisfy you. Than you will realize whatever you thought as real is not real. You will seek in and start searching the real, the truth. You will find me'
While coming back home, in my car, I was still thinking about my silent conversation with god. When my car was taking a turn after the famous Indian Institute of Science of Bangalore and was again entering the crowded life of Bangalore, I called up my brother on his mobile and asked him ' whether he remembers the whole shloka?
He reminded me, the shloka was written by Shri Adi Shankaracharya. The full shloka is
'Shlokardhena Prabakhyami Yad Uktam Grantha Kotibhihi.
Bramha Satya Jagat Mithya Jibo Bramha Eba Na Paraha.'
The meaning of the shloka, as explained by Shri Adi Shankaracharya is ' I am explaining in half a shloka, what has been told in crores of books. Bramha (God) is real, the world is an illusion, Jeeva (atma) and Bramha (god) are same, not different.'
While crossing through the crowded MG Road, I felt, the noisy traffic was not irritating me so much. Hare Krishna.