“It’s all about Peace and Love man”…”Get rid of all that negativity in your life”… “Meditation is all about pure thoughts”
Wrong Wrong Wrong.
A LONG time ago there was this Yogi – he had many disciples who would travel for thousands of miles to see him. He was known to have attained the very highest degree of enlightenment and was versed in all exoteric and esoteric knowledge.
His nature was calm and collected… he was completely undistracted. It was said that merely being in his presence would relieve you of all problems and illusions in your life.
He had sat in a meditative state for years… never once breaking his resolve. People would join him, coming and going throughout this long period of meditation in the hope that they would be able to attain the same enlightenment as their chosen ‘Guru’… or at least get a one-on-one ‘coaching sesh’
One day a woman came to join others who were meditating along side this yogic master. Unable to focus, she started fidgeting and scanning the area to see if anyone else was on the same vibe.
They weren’t…Everyone was in a deep meditative state.
This angered the woman. She tightened her eyes shut, but continued to fidget and stir.
She started to question herself, her worth, her purpose. She worked herself up so much that she ended up in the darkest parts of her consciousness.
She reflected on the mistakes of her past, her failed relationships, all the people she had disappointed… and she felt her heart sink into her stomach at the thought of all these failures.
Tears rolled down her face as she began to ask herself how she could ever think that she could sit amongst these peaceful, blissful people.
Suddenly she felt an overwhelming presence before her. She slowly loosened her eyelids till her eyes involuntarily widened at the sight of what was in front of her.
All of the other students had come out of their transcendental state and were staring in amazement.
It was the Yogi that everyone was so gaga about – out of his meditative state and sitting in front of this restless woman.
The Yogi looked at the woman in awe and said…
“I’m sorry I disturbed you… but I’ve never seen someone in such a deep meditative state before.”
“Enlightenment is a destructive process.
It has nothing to do with becoming better or being happier.
Enlightenment is the crumbling away of untruth. It’s seeing through the facade of pretense. It’s the complete eradication of everything we imagined to be true”
Today is Dussehra – a day in the Hindu calendar that marks Shri Rama’s defeat over Ravana – the 10-headed Demon King – as told in the Vedic Epic ‘Ramayana’.
Ravana is an extremely fascinating figure in Vedic scripture. Although he is renowned to be possibly one of the most evil and ‘adharam’ characters – he is remembered for some extremely ‘redeeming’ traits.
- He was Lord Shiva’s (the destroyer) most ardent devotee and would quite literally ‘move mountains’ to please him.
- He was the most learned Vedic scholar of his time and is still to this day revered as a most intelligent being.
- At the time of his final breath he imparted the greatest lesson of his life to Lakshman – the younger brother of Shri Ram… his enemy.
That third point is one that often gets overlooked – especially on this day where we celebrate the physical death of Ravana by setting a giant effigy of him on fire (even though it’s awesome to watch).
The most poignant death on this day is the death of Ravana’s ‘ten heads’ – or rather his states of mind…
- Ahankara (Ego)
- Amanavta (Cruelty)
- Anyaya (Injustice)
- Kama Vasana (Lust)
- Krodha (Anger)
- Lobha (Greed)
- Mada (Over Pride)
- Matsara (Jealousy)
- Moha (Attachment)
- Swartha (Selfishness)
Right before his death Ravana realises all of the terrible actions he has taken in his life and spends his final moments in absolute despair. His remorse and reflection of his past is such that he comes to realise the true purpose of his life – and although it is coming to an end – he finds solace in the fact that he achieved exactly what he was meant to…
The Story of Jaya and Vijaya…
Shri Vishnu (the preserver) had two gate keepers – brothers named Jaya & Vijaya – who would guard the gates of Vaikuntha, the heavenly realm in which Shri Vishnu resides with Laxmi Devi.
Given they were entrusted with such an important task, with time the brothers grew arrogant.
One day Shri Vishnu and Laxmi Devi were chilling out at home.
Jaya and Vijaya stood at the gates and said…
“For real they’re not about that life today – they’re just trying to chill on some mad sunday vibes – we won’t let anyone through today“.
The four sons of Brahma Dev (the creator), known as the Manasaputras, came strolling up the path to meet Shri Vishnu. They were ardent devotees and wished to seek his blessing – I think it was for a new development of duplex luxury apartments in Mumbai or something (it really wasn’t).
The Manasaputras were extremely enlightened, pious and possessed great self-control, and they were still only young boys. They asked gently if they could meet their chosen deity – but Jaya & Vijaya refused…
“Narr fam you’re not getting through – Shri Vishnu is chilling and we won’t disturb him for some kids“
The Manasaputras – slightly agitated – said…
“Aight we get that you feel like top boys but to be honest you can’t stop devotees of Shri Vishnu from getting his blessings – he wouldn’t be cool with that.”
The debate continued on in this fashion until one of the Manasaputras completely lost composure and said…
“You know for 2 beings who are so close to God all the time – you’re acting like dicks. Until the 2 of you come to your senses you’re going to lose your divinity and wander the earth as mortals.”
Upon hearing this the 2 brothers immediately realised their mistake and were remorseful. They couldn’t bare the thought of being separated from Shri Vishnu and so they prayed to him to remove this curse. He appeared before them – but it was too late…
“Sorry guys – you really screwed this one up – I can’t remove the curse by these young sages, but I can tweak it a bit. I’ll give you 2 options…
- You can spend 7 lifetimes as my devotees till you realise supreme knowledge and then you will be reunited with me… OR…
- You can spend 3 lifetimes as my enemy and I will defeat you in each life – after which you will be reunited with me.”
Jaya & Vijaya couldn’t deal with the idea of 7 mortal lifetimes away from Shri Vishnu – and so took the second option. In the second lifetime Jaya & Vijaya were born as Ravana and his brother Kumbhakarna – while Shri Vishnu was born as Shri Ram.
Cool. So what does this all mean?
The story of the ‘Ramayana’ is part of a wider narrative in the Vedic scriptures that describes the workings of Karma. All of the abhorrent actions of Ravana were necessary for him to realise the true purpose of his life – to attain supreme knowledge and to realign with his God.
Rather than choosing 7 lifetimes as a devotee, Jaya & Vijaya chose to be an enemy of someone they were already devoted to – why?
And why was it 7 lifetimes as a devotee and only 3 lifetimes as an enemy?
These 2 questions have the same answer…
If we follow the same path as everyone else we will never discover the true purpose of our own lives (or it might take 7 lifetimes!). Whether you want to believe it or not we are all here serving a purpose. Trying to mimic the lifestyle of another person for the sake of being spiritual means you will never attain your truth – perhaps only an iota of what is actually waiting out there for you.
‘Spirituality’ is about attaining knowledge, it has nothing to do with speaking softly and talking about how much you want to hug people. It’s about how aware you are.
There is a vast difference between accepting who you are with all of your faults and teaching yourself how to be better – and dashing everything under the carpet and pretending to be this enlightened being who is exceedingly wise. Only one of those approaches can provide you with substance in the form of mistakes, lessons and growth.
Accepting oneself after an act of kindness is easy. But doing so after one has committed a ‘grave sin’ is one of the most enlightening and spiritual experiences a person can have in their life – because only from that point can you begin to strive towards becoming better and realising your true purpose.
So if you’re trying to become more spiritual/conscious/aligned/aware or any of the words synonymous with these – then don’t go around searching for answers in other people’s lives, downloading apps that promise you ‘balance’, or even reading Holy Books.
Sit down, close your eyes and ask yourself the questions you’re dying to know about yourself – even if it takes you somewhere you’ve been avoiding for a while.
Do it… and I promise you that of all the answers you’re looking for will show themselves to you – right on time.
Happy Dussehra and Vijayadashami to all !