Friday, February 29, 2008

The Sthitha-Prajna - A Short Story

The sparrow was chirping at his window. With great weariness Vipra opened his eyes.That morning was especially cold. It was earlier than usual, or at least it felt like that for Vipra. He had had a disturbed sleep. He quickly checked his watch. It was 5.30 AM. Indeed the sparrow was earlier by half an hour that morning. He examined his watch with greater attention.It was a shiny gold HMT watch with an India flag engraved in the centre of the dial. It flooded him with memories. Deep emotions engulfed him. He attempted to regain composure by meditating and diverting attention. He was ashamed of himself and this was not appropriate of him. But yes with time he could overcome everything and every day he repeated this to himself. He made a mental note to change the watch that day.

He arose from his straw-mat and did his surya-namaskara. Guruji would begin his morning session in an hour's time. He walked towards the towards the river with his change clothes. The sky was still dark and the River Bhagirathi still was at its glistening silvery best. Vipra took a deep breath of the fresh morning air and paused for a moment to enjoy the soothing gurgling sound of flowing water.

He tried to recall guruji's teachings of the previous day on "Sthitha-Prajna" Lakshanam.(Qualities of an Equanimous Mind).

Yada' sam-harathe chayam
Kurmo-ngaani-va sarvashah
Tasya Prajna Prathishtithah

"When a person can withdraw his senses from worldly objects and desires just like the tortoise withdraws its limbs and head into it shell, his wisdom is firmly set and he achieves an equanimous mind. "

Practicing what he learnt everyday was proving to be an arduous task for him. "Vipra" his name meant "The Inspired One". It was hardly so now. He realised that he had to gather himself up soon from this rotten state. Reflecting on this he entered the water. It was freezing cold at that time. Deeply engrossed in thought he had hardly noticed the coldness.

Stones thrown into water
Sink fast and settle down at the bottom
But the ripples on the surface last longer.

Ripples extend outward
From the Point of disturbance
But soon there would be no more ripples
Just the stand still calm water once again!

To be continued ...


River Bhagirathi - Tributary of River Ganga

Sthitha - Prajna Lakshanam - Bhagavad Gita Chapter 2

Vipra - Sanskrit name for "The Inspired One"

HMT - Hindustan Machine Tools (old Indian watch brand)

Surya - Namaskara - Tribute to the Sun God. A Form of Yoga Exercise.

Sublime Verse

"We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time"

"There will be time to wonder
Do I dare, Do I dare?
Time to turn back and descend the stair...
Do I dare
Disturb the universe? "

--------------- Lines by T.S. Eliot

Pookal Udhirum Saalai Vazhiye Pesi Selgiren
I walk talking to myself on roads sprinkled with flowers

Marangal kooda nadapathu pole ninaithu kolgiren.
I console myself thinking that I am walking with the trees

These lines symbolize loneliness and solitude but in a positive way. It implies that even though one is cruising along in good times there is a need to share their happiness with others. (not just in times of sorrow and misery).

-------------Lines for title song Kadhalikka Neramillai

Strange, is it not? that of the myriads who
Before us pass’d the door of Darkness through,
Not one returns to tell us of the Road,
Which to discover we must travel too.
-------------The Rubaiyat Of Omar Khayyam - By Edward Fitzegrald