Few things in life happen out of the blue which are beyond any reason or rationale. While the mind continues to wander, seeking the reason or the causality of the events, and the self ponders about it in an everlasting vicious circle and unending series of man-hours spent while the hairs continue to fall and lathe the floor, the Maker stands somewhere and is smirking at us mortals.
One of my relatives had given my parents a CD containing the discourses of Nochur Venkatraman on Bhagavatham. After having finished reading Mahabharata and Ramayana, the next obvious choice for me was Bhagavatham. But given how fickle our mind is and all the extraneous parameters that continue to affect our lives with their own intricacies, I was not fortunate enough to read either Bhagavatham, or listen to it. My parents continued to the play the CD every day evening and listen to the discourse, while I was ensconced in my man-cave and lost either reading the current state of the World or the ways by which World Domination could be achieved.
The story of Gajendra Moksha always fascinated me right from childhood. I remember having read it in Amar Chitra Katha(ACK), and also had the version of ACK with me for a long time. But little did I know that universe conspires in strange ways and sometimes our scientific mind and all the rationality that comes along with the baggage indeed goes for a toss. The idea of this blog post is not to expatiate on the story of Gajendra and his struggles leading to his ultimate salvation, but the emotional turbulences caused by just listening to it in the most unexpected of the circumstances. By the way, the story of Gajendra and his moksham(salvation) symbolizes so much more than what is contained in the frame - I would highly recommend almost everyone, irrespective or caste/creed/religion to read this amazing story and understand the nuances contained in it. Probably, a blog post in itself in the due course of time will be seen here!
Anywayz, so, my pal(Vijay) informed me that one of his pals was visiting him and we should do a 1-day drive sometime. We decided quickly and the drive did happen. His pal, Rangan, was a highly successful Technologist settled in the United States and was visiting India as his annual ritual. While returning back after the trek and drive, we were talking about some spiritual aspects of religion etc, and I told him about how I always have been wanting to hear the story of Gajendra Moksham but despite the CD and Youtube at a hand's length, it has been evading me. Rangan offered telling the story, and after we all agreed, he started reciting the story of Gajendra Moksham to all of us.
He went on for a good 1-1.5hours. Emotions swelled. Eyes became wet. His brilliant story-telling just numbed my senses at brief moments of time.
Yes I cried. I do not know, but tears rolled by cheeks and I saw Rangan crying in the back seat. Though he was whimpering, my tears were silent and they just rolled down without much fanfare. There was muteness for some time, and Rangan continued. The occasional silence in the car was deafening, and it became a perfect backdrop for an absolute brilliant day wherein we did a tough hike which relaxed the body and then followed it up with some amazing spiritual story telling(for the soul).
Some of us are Gajendras in real life as well, and many of us prefer to fight against ignorance thereby sapping our energies. Fear appears when there is lack of knowledge. We do not accept the fact that our relatives and friends will not lend a helping hand or will be equally useless at certain instances, for we do not understand the concept of 'sharanagati'. Instead, by concentrating on seeking knowledge through karma or bhakti, one can truly seek salvation. Gajendra was not just a pachyderm who was caught into the jaws of the crocodile, he was much more that; the only problem being he did not know what he was and what he was capable of. Ignorance caught him, and kept him occupied.
Why did Rangan come all the way from USA during the said time and why did my pal Vijay have to bring him on this drive and of all the things that we could have discussed, why did I end up listening to Ganjendra Moksham. I have no explanations. And this will continue to remain a mystery to me. Probably, I am romanticizing the entire episode, but I am beginning to believe that my scientific mind these days requires equal amounts of romanticism as well, and it is all the better that the brain does not wander into the course of rationality and try to analyze and understand everything in its details. Certain things are better left unsaid, un-analyzed.
Thanks Rangan. We all are Gajendras.