In a state of war

It was time for his prayers. The fakir gently rolled his prayer mat on the curb near the park and kneeled down. Just as he was closing his eyes he was rudely shoved. Opening his eyes with a jolt he saw a young woman run past him into the park in such a hurry that she did not even realise she had knocked him during his prayers. ‘This is typically how the youngsters today behave’, he thought. ‘No respect for elders and none what so ever for the garb.’ He was so irritated he started pacing to and fro and had to take five minutes to cool down.

With a modicum of peace he once again began to spread out his mat and kneel down for his prayers. Once again he was rudely struck from behind by the running girl – this time as she ran out of the park. This was too much. He yelled out to her to stop. He was so upset that it took him a few moments to realise she was crying. Her beautiful but sad face was already puffed up. But that was no excuse to be disrespectful especially during prayer time!
‘Did you not see me kneeling for my prayers? What could have been so important that you knocked me down on your way in to the park and again as you ran out of the park?’ demanded the Fakir. She looked at him apologetically and with tears welling said ‘I am so sorry! I did not mean to disturb you! Please forgive me!’ Seeing her genuine regret the fakir brought his pitch down a couple of notches. ‘What is really bothering you so much that you are blinded to everything around you?’ he asked, almost gently.

Between sobs she replied ‘My beloved was waiting for me in the park. I rushed not to waste even one moment of togetherness. And as I ran into the park I knocked you down. I am so sorry.’ Now curious the fakir asked ‘Then why are you now running back? And why the tears?’ The girl swallowed a sob and replied ‘Because he leaves to join the army today and I don’t know when I will see him again! In my sorrow I rushed out of the park and did not pay attention to your prayers. Please forgive me.’
Well, that still wasn’t an acceptable excuse to the fakir. He mentally got ready to sermon her on how to see the greater things in life – not shed tears for the human woes but get lost in the love for the divine.

Strange indeed are the ways of life! Perhaps she heard his thoughts for she gently wiped her tears, gathered her poise and asked the fakir – ‘May I ask you something? I am so lost in my love for my beloved that I never realised I had knocked down a reverend fakir during his prayers. My involvement and love for my man is so intense that the joy of union and the tears of separation blinded me from noticing anything else outside.’ She paused for a moment, looked straight into the fakir’s eyes and with absolute intensity asked – ‘If such is my connect to a mortal man, how come your love for your God swayed you from your prayers at the mere brush of a little girl? How come you are not so lost in your love for the divine that a simple push from me has disturbed your peace?’

Her words lingered for a very long time in the Fakir’s mind – ‘If I can feel so deeply by simply loving a mortal man, how much more deep should your love be when you truly learn to love the Creator!’

This narrative is not about a lover’s passion or fear of separation, not even about prayers or respect. It is about understanding how totally involved you ought to be in whatever it is you are currently doing.

If you are loving this moment watching the sun rise – you will not reach out for the camera. On the other hand, if you love watching the world through the lens, you will never put down the camera. It is not about what is right or wrong but about how complete you are in that moment – every moment.
You really enjoy dancing in the rain, you don’t need to update your social media. Perhaps when trying to relive a memory, it may get recorded online. But being complete in that moment means you don’t search for a network to post a selfie in the rain!

You savour life and every day as a blessing. It shouldn’t matter who greeted you for your birthday. Indeed it adds joy to receive others’ wishes and share your happiness with your loved ones. But if that is what really mattered, or rather the lack of a wish bothered you on your special day, you still don’t consider your life to be a blessing!

You are grieving a loss and if you are completely lost in that grief, you don’t need anyone to acknowledge your grief. It cleanses you so completely to cry in your heart for your loss. In that moment of deep loss you experience the divine. Only when it is shadowed by a sense of guilt, a feeling of incompleteness in your grief, it searches for the validation of your loss as sympathy from others.

You are laughing out loud – not because it is expected or because you have an audience but because you simply cannot control your mirth – you don’t need company and even less a joke! In that moment of complete laughter you dissolve into the divine. Else it is simply a recorded laughter track that plays on social cues.
You burnt your hand and can feel the pain travel down your arm – if you can really feel every neuron fire up, in that moment you are lost in the divine despite your pain. Only when you wish to highlight your scars to be applauded by the world for all your troubles, you revel in that trauma literally inviting it once again.
You are so lost in fear that it controls your very being – it will lead you to the divine for in that moment you are not shallow in your being. But very often the fear is a mask to showcase your courage, a need to iterate your determination, a grey background to highlight your colourful bravery to the world. Fear will raise its head ever so often to provide you with the context to feel confident.

When you chose a gift because you want to see the face of your loved one when they open the present, your completeness will depend on their response to your present. What if they don’t want it? What if it doesn’t excite them as much as it did you? What if it actually means nothing to them? When you chose a gift because you want them to have it – you lovingly made it for them or chose it with great care – when the process of getting it / making it was complete in itself, the response no longer matters.
When you are truly experiencing the divine, you won’t look around to see if anyone is watching you experience the divine! And be warned – if you did look around, it isn’t the real deal!

We constantly live life from an inner state of war. It is always about proving someone or something wrong or showcasing oneself as right and righteous. And as you grow older, the techniques of war get so ingrained that even without any effort you wear your armour everyday to battle on with life. What does one really gain by proving someone wrong? Why would anyone relate to you if you are always knocking them down? What makes you think your way of life is the only way to live? Since when do we develop the need to be seen as right rather than be right? Why should anyone understand your perspective when you don’t seem to have time for theirs? In the process of one-upmanship we no longer are fully in the moment.

Ageing gracefully is understanding that we are not in a state of war! You don’t get the medal for proving someone wrong; you cannot go back in time by declaring your ways are better than the next gen; you don’t become taller by cutting off your neighbour’s legs! Not every thing needs to be communicated – neither to the outside world in loud overtures nor in the inner raging of your thoughts. Just let it be. You do not need others to validate your experience in order to verify your existence.

To live life is to live moment by moment complete in itself – no records to compare, judgements to pass or battles to fight. To live life is to live moment to moment engrossed in itself – crying with your entire being, laughing till your gut falls out and calm from your deepest core with the knowing that life knows what it is doing. Life definitely is not in a state of war with itself!

Written by Gita Krishna Raj  |  Published in infinithoughts in February 2016

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