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Those Karma Yogis
|by Dr. Vidur Jyoti|
‘Mesmerized’ is the word that had eluded me all these days. And when it appeared with the first ray of dawn this morning it added a totally new hue to the crimson on the eastern horizon. What had made all this difference? It kept me wonderstruck just as some recollections from a not too distant past followed this word.
It had been an incessant search for a word that most aptly described the state of my mind since the day I first watched that performance. The deft movements of those fingers, the expression of a longing for an elusive goal in those eyes and those unfaltering and sure steps all contributed to make that performance a memorable one. It had become etched in the recesses of my memory and the longer I had to wait for an apt descriptive, the deeper grew those etchings.
The prolonged wait that had kept on bringing her back to me again and again culminated with the day break this morning. This day break revealed a unique vision with a remarkable clarity. The vision had brought with it an explicit rationalization of the actions that we do and see being done, the doer of those actions and the fruits thereof. It became apparent that this was the vision that made all the difference this morning.
Almost instantly, I was driven back in time as if carried by some unseen vehicle following the footprints of the clouds. I found myself at the construction site on the day when the concrete slab for the roof for my house was being cast. The stage had been set a few days earlier when they spread an interwoven steel maze for the cement concrete to be poured. And that day she was there with all of them at the construction site. In the company of some others like her she too must have left her home and hearth in some remote sleepy village in search of bread and bed amidst the hustle and bustle of this city. There was a lot of excitement in the air and a tremendous amount of activity all around. Some of them were operating the concrete mixers while others were scurrying up and down the improvised wooden ramp carrying the mortar and still others were spreading the mixture evenly.
She was amongst those who carried the mortar and walked bare feet on the steel and wire mesh with the graceful agility and dexterity of an accomplished performer on the dance floor. The spike like wires jutting out of the joints and the tough twisted steel seemed to be waiting to caress her feet rather than hurting her soles. Each load of mortar poured on the steel frame was an achievement and also a preparation for the next one to be carried all the way up from the ground level. I wondered about her thoughts as she made innumerable rounds made to and fro carrying and pouring the mortar. Where was her mind other than her work? How about her baby whom she had put to sleep just before the work commenced?
Those hands that had been so delicately rocking a hammock improvised out of a tattered cloth for an infant just a few minutes ago were now carrying the load of rough mixture of cement and mortar. As she swiftly negotiated the wire and steel mesh with her bare feet she would steal a glance now and then in the direction of her baby as if searching for a reflection of her own dreams in the dreams of her baby. But all the while there was just a single pointed mission of carrying the mortar without any faltering on way and pouring it without any mistake at just the right spot.
As the wire and steel frame work gradually disappeared under the mortar her movements became still faster as if competing with the westward moving Sun. Then one final round and the whole slab was cast. That was the moment of reckoning, the culmination of an exhaustive day’s grueling schedule a goal that seemed so far now reached.
What was so particular in that whole action sequence that left an indelible impression on my mind and arrested the cavalcade of my thoughts?
Just as everyone gathered, having washed their feet and hands, for the customary round of sweets distribution there was an impromptu joyous rendering of a hilarious village folk song. Someone improvised a drum out of an empty canister and almost swirling to that beat she too joined the chorus. The singularly carried out efforts by each one of them merged in to one final result and the crowning glory of their efforts came with that song. None of them clamored for the awards and none of them claimed the credits for a job well done. They were rather busy with then joyous and musical rendering of the satisfaction they had when they saw their target having been achieved. Her cheerful voice that lent a bewitching mellifluence to the chorus, the blissful contentment on her on holding her baby close to her again and offering to him her share of the sweets and her incessant contribution to the effort of all her companions all throughout the day were the most appropriate enunciation of the laws governing the actions destined and performed and the results obtained.
I witnessed the meaning of an intriguing chapter from the book of life being revealed and explained. With an amazing alacrity she transformed from a doting mother to an intensely involved worker and a willing contributor of all her might for achieving one common goal and just when it was the moment to bask in the warmth of the successful accomplishment of a task she had again metamorphosed into a housewife and a mother. Had I just witnessed a human form mechanically executing certain mundane tasks or was it a projection of the ultimate prowess on a terrestrial frame bringing forth the manifest silhouette of some nebulous design and thoughts? Where was the mother in her when she carried the loads of mortar and where was the worker in her when she leant her voice to that joyful chorus? Who was working and what was the work? What were the means and where was the end?
I stood rooted to the ground trying to trace the doctrines of Karma in the action sequence carried out by those Karma yogis.
Mesmerized was indeed the right word!
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