Tuesday, October 27, 2015

THE BEING AND THE BECOMING-XVII

“You have some questions to ask?” Swamiji turned to me.

The clear lucent sky; cool air; friendly silence; should be slumberous and restful. But, a vague restlessness oozed from me, I felt. Balu and Thimmy lay on their stomachs watching the play of the moon on the lake below.

“Little things seem to be jumping inside me, Swamiji,” I said. “It was quite big things kicking around, before I met Balu. A little less rumpus now, but the little kicks and jumps and gnawings are there. But, first, I want to tell you something: it seems that I saw you and Thimmy quite clearly; Thimmy was, of course, much bigger and chatty. Every now and then I see all sorts of creatures inside me, and others too; can see them, hear them and even feel them, too. A doctor said that it was imagination or dreams or hallucinations and things like that. He wanted to know if I could see and hear things that are not there. I said I couldn’t. But something puzzles me. Can anyone do that, see and hear something not there?”

“You were puzzled; what happened exactly?” asked Swamiji.

“Well, I felt I was somehow different from others - or others thought I was different from them. I felt puzzled, uncomfortable; still do,” I said.

“Did you never feel uncomfortable before? Don't you remember?” he asked.

“Yes.” I said, “I remember being uncomfortable. Very much so - people insisting on giving me a name; then, there was when I wanted to know if a name or a piece of paper called medical diploma, treated a patient, or was it a person; things like that; many other things, too, that happened to make me uncomfortable.”

“Ah, so you are uncomfortable for many things, reasons; not just because the doctor suggested you might be different from others. Is it not so?”

“ Yes,” I said.

“Ah, so being or becoming uncomfortable is a sort of thing that happens to you. The reasons could be many or none, perhaps.”

“Yes, sometimes I find no reasons at once, but always I can find some,” I said.

“So it seems that being uncomfortable ‘happens’, so to say, and we can spend years, counting and naming the reasons for it,” he said. “All you can say is I am uncomfortable - I feel uncomfortable - I know uncomfortableness. It comes, or happens and you come to know it. Like your knowing something was sweet; sweetness; like knowing a person. By the way, does this uncomfortableness belong to you?”

“Yes, certainly; I suppose so: it is I who feel uncomfortable, is it not?”

“Then, ask it to leave you,” said Swamiji.

“It won't; I have tried,” I answered.

“So it seems it does not belong to you, since you have such little control over it, said the Swamiji.

“Looks like it,” I said.

“Like the creatures that trouble you and have come to you; like sweetness, bitterness. Things come to you: You recognise them; know them. Seems to me, they come to become known by you. Shall we say that all things happen, biggest thing that happens seems to be ‘knowing’," Swamiji said.

“Yes,” I said.

“You may also say ‘no’ if you like. It is like this: Sometimes, there are persons you know, and persons I know. Sometimes, the same persons are known to both of us. In that case we can really talk about them. I'm no philosopher, and I am poor with words. Right now, all I can say is that I know happiness in talking to you,” observed Swamiji.

“Thank you, Swamiji,” I said, “you are most kind. May I ask why these creatures and things come to us, to me, for instance.”

“To become known by you,perhaps,” he replied.

“But why bring discomfort?” I asked.

“Maybe they don't know what to do with it, and they know you might help - like Subbu with the wound. You know what happened?” he queried.

“You tell me, Swamiji,” I requested.

“Subbu came, to be known by you - knowing that you might help. When you looked helpless, hopeless and then stern and somewhat angry because you felt helpless, he looked miserable, his child cried, and you looked more and more miserable. But as soon as you touched his hand and showed kindness, instead of thinking a lot about the right way of being kind, he felt better, and your vision and hand improved and you felt happy, too. They come, the ugly and the beautiful, the cruel and the charitable: whatever comes to you, comes in order to be known by you, - knowing you might help. Feeling kindly and expressing it helps. Kindness, like discomfort or sweetness or the creatures, also happens, and comes to become known by you. You are one of those fortunate ones who have known kindness intimately, and that is why so many creatures and things come to you. Doctor, indeed, you are fortunate. I feel happy because I, too, have known kindness, and may be because of that - how many more things come to us, come to become known. By the way, doctor, what happened when you were with Balu - you said all was quiet inside you,” Swamiji asked.

“Swamiji, one thing I remember. Balu appeared to personally know the things, creatures and persons he met, and he seemed to care for all of them as if they were dear and close friends. You are right, Swamiji,” I said, “I remember that he did not care much to think or argue out right and wrong ways of being kind. Kindness seemed to guide his head and hands - I remember the monkeys in the zoo did not pester him. - Kindness seemed to flow from him, and there was peace.”

Balu was sleeping and the fragrance of many gardens filled the air.

After a moment I said, “Swamiji, what if a tiger meets me and wants to eat me. I asked Balu, and he said something I do not remember.”

“Have you met one?” he asked me.

“No, but suppose I met; should I not run away or try to kill it; how show Kindness?” I persisted.

“I cannot answer that one. Only, this I know: the person who needs to be eaten by the tiger meets it, and the tiger which needs to be killed by the man meets him. But, for you, I think only a tiger that needs to be known by you will come to you, to be known, loved, to be taken care of, to grow,” replied Swamiji.

“One more thing, Swamiji,” I said, “why is it I see so many creatures with changing shapes in human beings and almost a steady form in all the creatures; occasionally, though, I've seen a human face in a creature.”

“Oh, that; that would be talking and explaining; not ‘knowing’. All that you and I now know is: things come to us: They come to become known by us: Kindness quietens and makes them merge with us, perhaps that's why they come; to merge and grow into us. Kindness, too, comes to us, like the other things; it transforms things. More and more words like that! But knowing is better!" he said.

“What about cruelty,” I said, “does not cruelty also come and change things.”

“Perhaps, perhaps, but I can only speak of what I know. I, too, have known cruelty. Cruelty came to me. But when it met kindness, it changed or vanished. So, I cannot see what happens when it is on its own!” he replied.

I mused. “I wish I had done more for Subbu,” I said aloud. “Though what more I could have done without the necessary things!”

“No, doctor, no regrets. Don't hurt yourself. One really does nothing. It is kindness that does the things. All you do is to politely stand aside and let the Goddess show her face. You speak of necessary things: as if with all those necessary things everyone gets cured in the hospital. Nothing but the necessary happens - only, the things needing one another come together - Subbu, you, the boiled water with dirty rags - and all is well. Kindness and clear vision get smothered when the mind is allowed to be blind to the things in front and roam about for things that are not there - that's the mind’s way. There is nowhere on earth that a necessary thing is not there, or an unnecessary thing is there. If only you let kindness take the lead!” Swamiji said.

I saw the face of a monkey turn human and benevolent as it amused a crying child; I saw the temple in Balu; I saw radiance in Swamiji’s eyes; I saw Thimmy’s mischievous grin that cheered me in prison and hospital; I saw flashes of golds and blues in a crucible wherein leapt stones and jumped out as flowers.

“Yes,” said swamiji, “she has many faces, has kindness!”

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