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Saturday, March 6, 2021

“ The seeker is the sought; the journey is the destination”

 As a child, I was started on the Bhakti marga (devotional path) by my family. I was given Lord Muruga to worship and relate to. I am thankful to my family for that start. But I have moved past that stage and devotional path does not work for me anymore.

How can it when I do not think there is a human-like figure in the form of Muruga or one with six faces and two wives, sitting in some hidden place considering every move of mine? Even if I believe that, it is arrogant to think that Muruga has nothing else to do than following every one of my actions. That is giving too much self-importance to an impermanent inter-being.

If I believe, there is a divine person with form called Muruga somewhere, and He is known only to a select few born in south India, what happens to the so many millions over millennia who were born in other lands and in other faith traditions? “Who” takes care of them?

However, I do believe in a Supreme Divine Force. The concept of Muruga as a representation of that Supreme or the Divine was very helpful for spiritual development. I am thankful for that; but must proceed on the spiritual journey on my own, without Muruga – with humility and thankfulness.

What is that journey? It has to be meditative, reflecting on the mysteries of life and of cosmos. Where did life come from? Where did cosmos come from? Where did this awareness, consciousness come from? If they “came” where were they before they “came”? What was the source?

My intuition says that there must have been some force from which all of this came. That is the conclusion of all Sacred Texts, all the spiritual masters and all systems of philosophy.  The desire in every human’s “heart” (mind) to reach that source suggests that there has to be an answer. As pointed out by C S Lewis, every innate desire of human beings has a natural solution to it. We are hungry and there is food. We are thirsty and we have water to drink.  We seek our source, like pacific salmons do. There has to be an answer for that desire.

What is it that seeks answers to the mysteries of life? Where is it located? In one sense, it must be located inside of me, because the question comes from within. In another sense, it has to be outside, since it permeates every life. If so, it needs a switch inside of me to turn on or as a biologist would imagine, it needs a receptor inside of me to get attached to and activate.

That “something” outside is like the sun which gives light just by its inherent nature. As the Upanishad says, it shines and makes everything known and visible. Our eyes see objects made visible by the light of the sun. The sun illuminates and the eye sees.

So it is with the mind and its capacity to know. It knows that it knows. It is also capable of knowing what it does not know. It knows the past and the present; cannot know the future but can guess and imagine. It knows during the wakeful state and dream state. But not in deep sleep, when the sensory organs are shut out. When it wakes up, it knows it was asleep.

What is that universal state (called turya) on the basis of which the mind knows? To which, the mind wants to connect?   As pointed out by the Upanishads, “that which does not think, but that by which mind thinks” is that Sat, Brahman.

At a physical level, there is the lingering question. Why does that awareness depend on a perishable body and the brain? When the brain is damaged, that capacity to imagine the connection with the cosmos is gone. That capacity is not there at birth and takes time to develop. It tends to diminish for many of us as we get older. Why this barrier?

My reasoning says that I should stop questioning at that level and accept that mystery and the barrier. I should reach for that elusive, eternal  hidden source behind all that we see, hear and experience, while am still alive and the mind is functioning. As suggested by our ancestors, there is correspondence and inter-relationship between microcosm and macrocosm (particular and general). My effort should be to make the connection between the particular and the general, between the individual and the collective and between the wave and the ocean.

My meditation must be an effort to connect the body with matter, life force with energy and awareness with knowledge or consciousness. The goal is not moksha or release because I do not know what moksha means. Besides, moksha is after death. When it is possible to experience the connections here and now, why wait for death? Why not take the journey now towards That source hoping to experience IT if lucky?

Our rishis said it best: “ The seeker is the sought; the journey is the destination”.


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