Meeting of Philosophy & Spirituality
Aristotle, Socrates, Plato, and Parmenides became worthy philosophers because of this. Buddha and Mahavir got enlightened. Bulleh Shah lived in extreme poverty, ecstatically writing hymns. Rumi and Hafiz were dipped in love. Meera miraculously disappeared by merging into Krishna’s idol. Gurunanak’s teachings became the guiding light for a major religion to come. Kabir still remains one of the most beloved prophets with his incomparable couplets. Swami Vivekananda set out on a revolutionary journey alone. Ramana Maharishi’s silence crossed many an ocean. Yajnavalkya remained undebatable in the kingdom of Mithila.
But these were all the Spiritual Afficiandos, the ones who prioritized spirituality over everything. But what about us normal folks?
Was Marilyn Monroe Enlightened? Is Donald Trump too?
The point here to make is that the spiritual dimension is already abundant and complete in you. So it's not the identity that relates to Enlightenment but it is always the essence behind it! The essence is one and common.
However, when the identity led mind derives its reality from a body-mind-egoic case, it becomes unconscious and veils the enlightened part.
Lord Krishna didn’t add anything to Arjuna’s being when he showered him with the gems of ‘Brahma Gyan.’
Nevertheless, what is this common thread that connects all of these enlightened souls — the souls who shook perceptions, remained eternally happy and rewrote the ways of human living? Does it always culminate in enlightenment?
My own experiential understanding — I knew it by employing my one power of choice- the only ‘free will.’
Once I was living a perfect definition of conventional life, well-settled in a high-paying, respectable job, with a beautiful home, freedom to explore places and travel extensively. I lived a life of envy. People wanted to be like me. And that drove me more blindly towards this superficial living. All was picture perfect for a young girl who was living her romantic fairy tale dream every damn day!
One night, at the peak of my so-called blissful life, I woke up suddenly, not with trauma — but I woke up at once. Not that something was wrong, but I felt an extreme lack, a lack that has now been crystallized and that has manifested itself in a form, it was not to be ignored anymore. To my utter surprise, my mind, which has always promised me a thousand solutions, couldn’t fathom what this massive lack is.
All looked surface-well in my life, even so, I was still lingering over a lack I couldn’t comprehend anymore. The more I dissected, the more it became entangled. These knots were not to be undone by my mind.
This state stayed for a good four hours, while I sat crossed-legged on the floor in the corner of my room, occasionally, fingernails left tangible proofs of confusion over my pale hands.
In the morning, I woke up exhausted, took leave from the office and went to a public park. As I walked across the usual street, I saw faces of people dropping their kids to school, a few aunties gossiping about their home politics, fitness freaks running like crazy with those bigger than face headphones that made it look like extra-large dollops of whipped cream seated over neatly done cupcakes.
I noticed everyone with a cynical eye, a curiosity of a questioning child, as a sceptic, I questioned the roles they played and I looked at their elongated and frowned faces.
Each one was battling. Everyone was in an emergency. Each one was rushing.
But where to?
What — did I ignore this detail until today. Why didn’t I notice all of this before?
Because this has been my own routine for the past five years or so, as far as I can remember.
I moved further and came to a grinding halt in my disappointment, behind the largest banyan tree— a deliberate attempt to remain invisible, to hide the eerie gestures on my face and avoid eye contact with those quick to judge strangers.
I was looking for answers and yes, true happiness above all!
And then as a child who believed in God- because God is security, is comfort, is a stranger, a confidante with whom you share your innermost weird confusions, I told him, her when I needed to vent out my female outbursts.
I believed in God because he has already given me the proof of his existence, in a materialised form, when I was a mere eight years old. Since then, I have always believed in him.
And that day, determined enough, with unwavering faith, I again looked for something beyond. My mind has already given me a testament to its failure last night and it could no longer be trusted in this case.
God, I know the truth is big, and I am ready to pay a price, any damn price. I have this habit of indulging in a barter exchange with God. And so, I invoked my ingenious skills, at this opportune moment.
Take me out of my desperation. Please. There, I stood with folded hands, begging a lord who is nowhere to be seen. I begged, and begged, and begged for another two hours or so, in the scorching summer winds, ignoring the biting mosquitoes who drooled over my diabetic blood. I begged because I have never been so hollow, desperate and helpless at the same time. And, I now transformed into an illogical and unreasonable socket, a once-envied, a sensible young lady crack up.
I rambled non-sense, something someone could never, one with functioning wits, do away with!
What is the missing link, the one common thread that binds all happiest souls together?
As I furthered my quest, I at once realised this was an extreme form of existential crisis. Desperation as strong as that of Buddhas, frustration as shaking as the one in Ekcharts life, the question ‘Who am I’ as strongly as asked by Aristotle, a craving as deep as Rumi’s, and devotion as blind as Vivekananda’s. These all crystallized articulations are knitted in a single thread — an intense existential crisis.
I granted the permission — as if God needs it — to take everything away from me, everything that I hold dear to my heart, everything in which my apparent happiness resides, my every damn thing, but in exchange, God has to grant me the pristine truth. All I want is truth, I have lived a desirable life and for too long, I have ignored it, but now I realised that this limited life, doesn’t serve my soul.
And I didn’t know until much later, God literally whispered ‘Amen’ through the silence.
In the spread of the next three years, something was about to happen — everything will be taken away from me for me to know this one truth.
And I was to know the ‘truth,’ the truest form of happiness. And my destiny has already planted its seeds. The countdown began.
And I was to be starved of all objective pleasures, all objective comforts. My life was going to be turned upside down- literally. And I was to find no silver lining in objectivity — none!
But that was needed. It was needed more than anything tangible.
Fast forward to today, I wouldn’t change a thing about it. Will I? No, never!
If I could, I will tone down the abundance of love and forgiveness of God a little, because, one, it is overwhelming, two, I didn’t truly deserve much of it. I committed a lot of mistakes and I showed little faith. And, in fact, I would suggest God rebuke me from time to time, but such is his love, he is unable of this. He would overstuff my heart with pious bites of love, even over the occasions of my vehement mumblings and accusations.
It is funny how people envy your objective life, measuring your happiness by the pleasures you have acquired. And how conveniently they would overlook, the web of miseries hidden deep inside the hollows of your own heart.
It is because even we, ourselves, have been accustomed to this overlooking. We face what we can, and miseries — they make us an awful lot uncomfortable.
The truth of life, the crumbling of this child’s play, the reality of this facade. I paid a seemingly hefty price to know this truth. Not everyone has to.
But this truth that sages speak of, that has remained unchanged for ages, that is the common thread in all religions since the time beginning, is an ineffable gem.
I can lose a million such illusory lives if it means for the truth to unveil its curtains, and for the truth to reveal its lit-up face. I could, but I won’t now, no, not anymore. I don’t want to be a part of this separation, this tedious play of being just human.
I hope my battle with desperation and loss of all objective happiness, to gain the true vision, enables one, if not many, to tread upon this momentarily uncertain path with utmost certainty!
One, that culminates in eternal blessings, magic and love-unfathomable.
I truly hope God reveals his lovable face to you.
All you need is desperation, feeling-lost sense of self to seek this truth.
And may you be blessed in the light of a thousand miracles assembled, only for you.
Sometimes, destiny knits the threads as such, it makes an extra effort only for you to know the truth. Isn’t life’s customised magic, one that is put together only for you, wondrous enough to enable you to tread upon this journey. Uncertain at first but abundant at last.
An existential crisis as a lack manifests itself in multifarious ways, the one who dives deeper, come out enlightened. Enlightenment is a dissolution of distorted perception and the ultimate knowing of reality as it is. It is not an exotic way of living, preserved for a few, and is definitely not a concept. Enlightenment is the culmination of intensified existential crisis of lifetimes.