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The power in words

What held my soul most in the book was the conviction with which the protagonist surrendered the tiniest of his moments at the feet of the Divine Mother.

india Updated: Oct 24, 2003 17:57 IST

This is not a fictional account. I might have to change the names of people that I make a mention of just in case they desire it to be so. Rest all is true but there is obviously no way that I can prove that to you. The only motive behind writing this is to share with anyone (who is just as inclined towards) the little discoveries that I make in my attempt to see that which is not tangible but more real than what is. I really do look forward to hearing from whosoever wishes to write back to me about one's own feelings on the 'subject'. The link for writing back is given right below my own account. I hope to write to you every Wednesday and Saturday.

Before anything else, a very Happy Diwali to you all. Ghee ka Diyas (lighting of the earthern lamp with its wick dipped in clarified butter) lend powerful positive energy to the surrounding environment. So, go ahead and fill your home with the positive this Diwali.

Now, as I was telling you about 'Autobiography of a Yogi' - what held my soul most in that book was the conviction with which the 'protagonist', Paramahansa Yogananda, surrendered the tiniest of his moments at the feet of the Divine Mother. The Mother of course ALWAYS came to his rescue just as She would if we were to ask for Her Help … the problem is that we never sit back and relax after doing that, we just keep chewing our nails to death in anxious anticipation, blocking out every positive energy. We are such neurotics!

That is the precise reason why every 'New Age Guru' chants the mantra of 'positive thinking' - if you listen to them carefully, you would find that all they have done is translated the Gita Saar into a more simplistic form, so that people don't feel that it is something beyond their reach … the language is different, the message is, as always has been, the same.

Anyway, to get back to the book - let me quote one passage from it. It were these words that, quite literally speaking, jumped out of the page and lodged themselves indelibly in my being. Each person relates differently to each incident, each movie, each novel … so maybe you wouldn't anything extraordinary about what I am about to quote and maybe if you ever read the book (I recommend that with all my soul) you would find some other passage more overwhelming but for the sake of my passion towards this passage, bear with me and while you read it, try and absorb the power in each word:

"Mukunda (Yogananda Paramahansa's name before he was absorbed in the Swami Order), I see your father is regularly sending you money. Please return it to him; you require none here. A second injunction for your discipline concerns food. Even when you feel hunger, don't mention it."

Whether famishment gleamed in my eye, I knew not. That I was hungry, I knew only too well. The invariable hour for the first hermitage meal was twelve noon. I had been accustomed in my own home to a large breakfast at nine o'clock.

The three-hour gap became daily more interminable. Gone were the Calcutta years when I could rebuke the cook for a ten-minute delay. Now I tried to control my appetite; one day I undertook a twenty-four hour fast. With double zest I awaited the following midday.

"Dyanandaji's train is late; we are not going to eat until he arrives." Jitendra brought me this devastating news ... Darkness was descending as our leader entered the door … "Dyanandaji will bathe and meditate before we can serve food." Jitendra approached me again as a bird of ill omen.

I was in near-collapse … Impending doom was averted at nine o'clock. Ambrosial summons! In memory that meal is vivid as one of life's perfect hours.

Intense absorption yet permitted me to observe that Dyananda ate absent-mindedly. He was apparently above my gross pleasures … "Swamiji, I am puzzled. Following your instruction, suppose I never asked for food, and nobody gives me any. I should starve to death."

"Die then!" This alarming counsel split the air.

"Die if you must Mukunda! Never admit that you live by the power of food and not by the power of God! He who has created every form of nourishment, He who has bestowed appetite, will certainly see that His devotee is sustained! Do not imagine that rice maintains you, or that money or men support you! Could they aid if the Lord withdraws your life-breath? They are His indirect instruments merely. Is it by any skill of yours that food digests in your stomach? Use the sword of your discrimination, Mukunda! Cut through the chains of agency and perceive the Single Cause!"

I found his incisive words entering some deep marrow. Gone was an age-old delusion by which bodily imperatives outwit the soul. There and then I tasted the Spirit's all-sufficiency. In how many strange cities, in my later life of ceaseless travel, did occasion arise to prove the serviceability of this lesson in a Benares hermitage!

It was this counsel of Dyananda to Mukunda that completely and absolutely swept me off my feet. "What strength, what absolute faith" I had thought and somewhere deep down, my soul told me that these were the words on which my life was to be based.

As always, I shall now write to you on Wednesday, October 29th. Till then take care and let the Lord be with you.

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Previous Chapters

One of those dreams
The miracle, God and I
The compassionate One
The turning point
Smile at God
They live with God
I visit a tantric
That sinister presence
A brush with the spirit world
On my way Home

First Published: Oct 25, 2003 17:55 IST