I recall a famous mythological story. Celebrated sage Narada was asked to go around the garden of Raja Janaka with a cup filled with oil to the brim on condition that not a drop of oil should spill over. Narada successfuly made the rounds. He was then asked by the king about the description of the garden. The sage said he could not notice anything as he had concentrated his attention on the oil in the cup lest it may spill over.
We are so much obsessed with the idea of safe, smooth and hasslefree successful living that we deprive ourselves of the excitement, joy and ecstasy of the celebration of life without being aware of it.
At the age of eighty-four, I feel I dwell on an interface presently. The surface on which I dwell seems to form a common boundary between the spectrum of celebration of living and the ‘black hole’ of death. Living has been quite eventful, exciting and absorbing. Persons who have been integral to my existence are receding into the ‘black hole’ rather in an accelerated way. I have become irrelevant and redundant to my children and others. Through each such event I,( an integral part of my being) am being depleted . And I am still here. Or am I indeed?
And the way you deal with the transition, reveals you.
Living is like that. A lot of persons are there on the bank of a river. Boats would come to take them across one by one. There is no queue. But each would be taken care of. That is certain. Staying at the interface is a unique experience. And a wise man says” Frame your experiences in a way so that there is growth.”
As I struggle to frame my experiences, a book draws my attention. Its title is ‘Tiya - A Parrot’s Journey Home.’ Writer is a monk of Ramkrishna order named Samarpan. It is a fable in the tradition of Panchtantra. Tiya, the protagonist of the fable, has a comfortable existence in its abode, the banyan tree. It is assured of a secure living and a very congenial community living. Then it so happens that Tiya is tempted by a voice from an invisible, formless source,
“Tiya, you are much more than what you think you are, and you can achieve much more than what you think you can . You need to realise this through experience, you need to actualise this through your actions, by achieving more than you think you can. In a word you have to find yourself. for which you have to get out of this place. As I said, I am here to guide and protect you through words. If you ever want to see me desperately, I will appear before you in the form of a swan. But if you see my real form, you may swoon.”
Prompted by the prodding of Hans, Tiya embarks on an adventure which soon turns out to be a series of misadventures. Tiya flew in search of finding the unknown. Enthusiasm, curiosity and hope gave him company. He moved from security to insecurity. Several times he faced nearly deadly situations. However he survived these insecurities. He eventually turns homeward, but his return journey seems to take him farther and farther away from the banyan tree.
I see reflections of my life in the adventures and series of experiences of Tiya. I too had been enticed to a life of adventure abandoning the assured life of security. I set out on an uncharted path and had to face challenging situations. I was required to prove myself. I now know that I am a surviver. I now realise why I had started pinning for adventures. Broken strands of sentences like ‘obscurantism, social change, woman liberation, conservatism ’ used to hang like cobwebs in my otherwise clean mind. I wondered about the meaning of these terms and why we did not experience these in our land. Was there more to the existence than I knew? I felt that I had to experiment in order to become complete. I knew that I will have to leave this place and seek what others had in their lands. Looking back I find that I have achieved much more than I had ever imagined I could as Lugu and I am indeed much more than what I had thought I was. I learn that life is a series of experiences that ultimately unshackle you from your narrow existence. Experience gives knowledge and knowledge is strength and strength is peace. I am at peace. "My past seems utterly ridiculous to me, as I realise that all my pain and suffering had been brought upon me by myself. I alone was responsible for the bitter and sweet experiences of my life,-- the joys and miseries, smiles and tears, pleasure and pain. These experiences came and went without touching the real me. They were like teachers to whom one went to learn, but not to settle down with—essential but not permanent.
The seed of discontentment in my mind has been watered by disillusionment, and now it has grown into a tree that bears the fruit of detachment.
One has to face the situation, but one also has to learn not to take a plunge. The unending journey takes one from situation to situation. One cries and smiles, desires something more, reaches new inevitable, meets new creatures and the journey continues. This also means that there is nothing called chance. Only those events for which you are fit come to you won’t even notice something for which you were not meant—good or bad."