He was Looking

He was Looking

As a meticulous and rational science student, I would try to scrape for the logic behind everything. Barely 18, I had only recently become a spiritual seeker. Prior to that, I was a crude, scientific person who could not discover the integral consciousness of spirituality and science.

In the beginning, believing in spirituality and science simultaneously was as troublesome as sailing in 2 boats at the same time. I needed to find logic and reason in concepts of living / non-living, GOD, creation of this World, Universe, Multiverse, this mankind, statue worship, mantras, rituals, spells, pooja-paath (worshipping) and everything else.

I would reason with my Gurudev over every ritual and shower him with a myriad of questions that he was so kind as to answer until I was convinced and satisfied. 

But on one such occasion, I happened to cross the line.

It was the auspicious day of Makar Samkranti, a celebration in reference to the Sun deity. Gurudev made a divine Sun-instrument : Sri Surya Yantra. With the chanting of some mantras, he began to evoke Surya Devta (the Sun deity) in it. At that very moment, my brain decided to venture on its logic hunting expedition, lighting a bulb in my head.

 “Have you called the sun in it?” I grinned.

 “Yes”, he replied, smiling, as if he were expecting the interrogation.

I touched the plate and argued, “but It’s cold”.

He didn’t utter a word, just stared at me with wide eyes, though smiling. That stare was enough for me to leave the place for the day.

Gurudev used to tell me that, “Your belief is bigger than your logic, your belief is the creator of ‘your’ reality. Logic is just your brain’s creation, and belief is the creation of your consciousness. This whole, this multiverse is a creation of consciousness.” Only if I had understood that sooner.

On Guru Purnima (a full moon night), Gurudev asked me which one of the Gods I wanted to worship. I told him, “Lord Krishna has fascinated me since I was a little kid. I pray to him almost every single day in my heart. I wish to worship him with the utmost passion. I know one day I will get to meet him for real. I want to experience his presence near me. I want to do his sadhana.”

            Gurudev started smiling weirdly. I recognized this smile, an alarm in my head went off, ‘Khatraa!’ (Danger!). I thought I was about to hear a heavy preach.

He said, “Arun, Beta, this thing that you are mentioning is not possible with logic, but yes, it could happen with belief”.

“Yes, yes, I got your point”. I left as soon as I could, happy to be spared.

So I bought Sri Laddu Gopal (Lord Krishna’s brass idol), a holy Sri Tulsi-Mala, and all other things needed for his daily Jaap, prayers and sadhana. I began to worship him every day for hours, from dusk till dawn. I would flaunt it to others even more than it was. As per the rules of the sadhana, I used to smear the U-Shaped tilak (Called Urdhva-pundra in Sanskrit) on my forehead, took the mala and adorned a yellow dhoti.

Gurudev told me several secret prayers that were important for my wish to come true. I recited them with all my heart and hoped to be able to meet him someday. So far, nothing had happened. I took care of the Krishna statue as if it were a living being. I bathed him, cleansed his aasana, changed his clothes, fed him the first morsel of my meals and everything else. Despite knowing that the alloy statue was not going to ingest the food, so I did, since my Gurudev had instructed me to treat him as a human. He told me that this was no ordinary statue, it was alive, as he had done prana-pratishtha in it.

A lack of belief led me to question Gurudev, “How come this copper and zinc alloy which is commonly known as ‘brass’, nurturing life merely because you chanted some mantras on it?”

He smiled again, “My dear, that is what I am telling you, life is not dependent on mantras, but on your beliefs”.

“Okay.” I agreed confidently, “I will continue my prayers; I just want to feel his presence!”

“Good, but remember son, belief is not something to do, but to have. There is a thin line between ‘doing’ and ‘having’ a belief. Once you will do 100% pure belief, you will step out of the ‘doing’ domain and enter the ‘having’ domain.  Only then will you have him in reality”, he advised.

            “Sure”, I exclaimed.

            This time the dose was a little heavy on me. I kept trying to discern the concept of doing and having, but I was getting nowhere.

Krishna-Janmashthami was here, and I believed that this was the day my efforts would seek fruition. I ‘did’ believe I was going to experience Lord Krishna as my sadhana and prayers were about to conclude.

I prayed to him with an inexorable amount of devotion and diligence. From sunrise to sunset to the next sunrise, I worshipped relentlessly but to no avail. Neither did he come, nor I had any spiritual, godly experience. I was worn-out and upset. I felt cheated. I had done so much in the past 38 days, apparently for nothing.

“Books lie, all these Gurus are lying too! I invoked him with all my heart. He could have at least come for a minute. They say he is too naughty, should have let me witness some of his mischiefs. They say he is a great friend, is this how he keeps his friendship?” I sulked in my head.

Disheartened to the core, I gave up all my spiritual practices. I thought it was a waste of time and told the same to Gurudev.

            “Son, each thought is precious, and there is nothing of waste in it, if only you believe that it is not a statue but Krishna himself, you will find him in it”, he urged, sounding sympathetic rather than preachy.

Once I returned home, I stationed Lord Krishna’s statue in a corner of my room and replaced it with my study-table.

A few days later it was the festival of Navaratri (nine nights dedicated to the Mother Goddess). A day prior to the big night of merriment, Gurudev addressed everyone with a detailed discourse on the significance of Maa Kaali’s pooja in the current era.

            I jumped from my seat as soon as I heard him, as if I had chanced upon a new path that led to my destination. “He should have revealed this secret earlier, that would have saved me a few days”, I thought to myself.

Gurudev broke into a hysterical laughter, “Yes, Arun, only Maa Kaali is going to save you now!”. I was wondering if he was reading my mind.

My veins were pumped up with a newly-found energy. So this time I bought Maa Kaali’s statue and other ingredients  for the pooja and sadhana-rituals. I took the local bus back home. The radio chimed in the background “Naya khoon hai, naya josh hai, ab hai nayi kahaani,…. Hum Hindustani…” (a hindi motivational song) this furthermore instilled heaps of enthusiasm and positive energies within me.

Once again, I moved my study-table and placed Maa Kaali’s statue at the freshly vacated spot. Now the priest (me) was ready to worship! The statue was enchanting, to say the least. My passion returned with higher positivity. It felt like I was back in the game. I had resumed form and lost track of day or night.

This time too, I was unable to experience anything. Yet, I trusted Gurudev and kept treading on the path. The pooja was to conclude on the eve of Diwali festival. Gurudev had asked me to perform a special and extensive pooja for the night, but there was just one condition: no one could watch me during the whole ritual, and I couldn’t leave the room until it was over.

Then came the long-awaited Diwali-night. I drew the curtains carefully and instructed my friends and family not to disturb whilst this ritual lasted. I sat before Maa Kaali and commenced my prayers. Gleeful laughs and the commotion of combustion seeped into the enclosed room.  “They all are such aim-less creatures, wasting their time”, I thought to myself.

It was 4:15 a.m., the so-called secretive pooja was about to end, but I hadn’t felt a thing. Nothing at all..  It was a big ZERO, zed ee aar oo, ZERO!

I was extremely frustrated. I thought to myself “What kind of a mother is she? I am calling her with all my heart, and she is not responding.” I wondered again if it was all a waste of time.

But then I recollected Gurudev’s condition; I could leave the room only once the rituals were over and no one should see me till then. I wondered what went wrong. Maybe someone was peeking inside the room. But who? And how? The doors were shut and windows curtained. The ‘process’ wasn’t even complete yet, and I had already begun my failure-analysis.

And then, I saw him—the culprit.

I turned to glance at where he stood.

Who could he be?

Who else?

That Laddu Gopal!

… that Lord Krishna, whom I had stationed in the corner and forgotten about.

“Ohh! It is him. He is the culprit, the one who interrupted my ritual. Oh! He ditched me in the last one and was going to disrupt this one”.

Countless bells started ringing inside my head… Laddu Gopal! Laddu Gopal! Laddu Gopal!… it set off a siren in my brain. I felt like I was in a daily soap, complete with the multi-angled shots and exaggerated sound effects.

He was staring at me. Straight into my eyes, even in that darkness.

I could see his enormous, shiny eyes looking directly at me.

“So, you are the real culprit. You interrupted my special pooja!”.

“My dear, you are so nice, aren’t you?”… I lost it.

“People call you a friend and this is how you have kept your alliance?  Was it necessary for you to look? It was a secret pooja between me and Maa Kaali. Now it’s been disclosed! You have seen it all. She won’t come now. First, I prayed to you, and you did nothing. Now I was performing this immense pooja, and you interrupted it! Enough with your mischief, I can’t waste more energy. I won’t let you see anything anymore. Wait! See what I’ll do..”,  I remembered I can’t go out.

            So, I pulled a piece of cloth and headed towards him, “I am going to cover your eyes with this, and then you won’t be able to see anything, don’t you dare remove this. You understand? You better understand…”.

And, the very next moment.. I couldn’t move.

I couldn’t believe my eyes. I had Goosebumps all over. My body started to shiver.

His eyes… yes, his eyes.. They were shining like a million stars. He had a gentle smile on his face.

It was him, yes him. He was alive, literally.

Still trying to gather my senses, I heard a woman chuckle. Exactly behind me. A chill ran down my spine. I could not dare to turn my head.

His lively eyes were now glistening. Brighter by the second. I just stood there. Frozen. Like a statue.