The Path to Realisation or Awareness
Santhosh Kumar Kana
Upagupta tells the dancing girl in Rabindranath Tagore’s poem “Upagupta” where she invites the ascetic to her house:
“ When Time is ripe, I’ll come to you”.
A beautiful young girl whose invitation no one would be able to turn down, is shocked when the ascetic does so. She is unable to make out what he meant by saying, “Time is not ripe”. For Upagupta, the Time here is not a material entity of years or months. It is the period of the evolution of consciousness or awareness. But for the dancing girl, it is materialistic. The conversation comes to an end as both of them speak from two different realms. Later in the poem, when the girl is banished from the city, denounced, her body full of sores, the ascetic comes to her saying:
“The time, at last, has come to visit you, and I’m here”.
Here she realizes what he meant by ‘Time’. Here Time is not linear but cyclic, true to Indian ethos. The communication between the two is smooth now. She who was ‘drunk with the wine of her youth’ is now conscious and awake and has seen the real and the eternal. She is sober and free from delusion, fit for spiritual path.
Each individual is a process, not a product and the process varies from individual to individual and are alike in many. The enlightened one recognizes it and so remains compassionate. That is why, we find most of the enlightened souls hardly taking the risk of talking or preaching. To say is to miss the real. To teach is to disturb the process in an individual. We know that Lord Buddha hardly answered the questions put to him often and often. As Lord Krishna says in the Gita,
“All are struggling through paths which in the end lead to Me”.
(The Gita, 4.11)
It is the pace that varies from individual to individual. Some walk, a few run but all are bent on reaching the destination. The passengers in a bus or train have different speed irrespective of the speed of the vehicle. Some are in a hurry, a few relaxed and some in between. But they all have to reach there and will one day. Give them their time. Don’t try to change them.
Swami Vivekananda says,
“ The child is the father of man. Would it be right for an old man to say that childhood is a sin or youth a sin? It is the necessary stage of life………Man is to become divine by realizing the divine. Idols or temples or churches or books are only the supports, the helps, of his spiritual childhood, but on and on he must progress”.
(“Paper on Hinduism”, Swami Vivekananda)
If at all the enlightened souls have ever tried to teach something, it was out of extreme concern for the humanity and as a caution, a warning knowing very well that their words alone wouldn’t bring any change but can accelerate the process in an individual to a little extent at least in one among many.
According to Swami Vivekananda,
“Man is not traveling from error to truth but from truth to truth, from lower truth to higher truth. Every soul is a young eagle soaring higher and higher, gathering more and more strength till it reaches the Glorious Sun.”
(“Paper on Hinduism”, Swami Vivekananda)
He goes on to say,
“Every religion is only evolving a God out of the material man, and the same God is the inspirer of all of them”.
This is the same spirit in Buddha’s words too:
“Be a light unto yourself”.
Imitating the enlightened one can mislead us. Our process is quite different, so is our path. Keep asking questions that emerge in your mind, don’t worry about answers. Nobody can give an answer because answer is within us. It has to be discovered. If we analyze we can see that question emerges from answer and dissolves in it as bubbles appear on water and dissolve in the same. Wait, watch and be alert. God is in all or it is his duty to be in all and it is our right to know Him.
The parable of the Prodigal Son in the Bible is about the same ripening of Time. The son had to go after all the material pleasures, exhaust himself in order to come back home, to his father(God). Till one is fully evolved to consciousness or awareness, one is bound to move in ignorance. There is a time lag between lower truth and higher truth (the ripening of realization).
The lives of emperor Asoka, Angulimala etc. testify the same truth.
Rabindranath Tagore writes in the Gitanjali,
“The traveler has to knock at every alien door to come to his own, and one has to wander through all the outer worlds to reach the innermost shrine at the end”