Thursday, May 29, 2008

Faced with death

Since I tend to chant a lot, I had always reckoned that when the end finally came, God’s name would spring naturally to my lips.

Then one day, a few years ago, I was returning by cab from South Bombay, accompanied by my business partner. It was raining in sheets, the afternoon sky was brooding dark and the roads were glistening wet. Our cab was right out there in the front at the traffic signal at Mahim Church junction. The minute the signal changed, our cab lunged forward and made for the Mahim causeway in a streak.

And then it happened. The cab skidded hopelessly, twirling like a tipsy top right in the middle of the road. The brakes weren’t working and in a slow blur I saw the road divider rushing towards us, then the cab rotated counter-clockwise and I saw a white Esteem rushing at us, then the cab rotated again and the dividers rushed at us even faster and then the cab rotated another arc and I saw a red double-decker bus bounding down at us, just a few feet away. Through the slow motion blur I could see there was now a rush of all the cars that had raced behind us from the traffic signal, and they were so close that I could see the front row of drivers watching the death twitch of our cab mesmerized. The cab driver’s face was chalk-white and there was sweat pouring down his oily forehead. One hand on the wheel, he was trying to do things to the handbrake. Mind you, all this happened within seconds but seemed stretched out in time. And as the cab made a fourth inebriated pirouette, both my partner and I were certain our time had come. This was it. The curtains.

And, with Death just seconds away, this is what I heard myself say: F**k! F**k! F**k!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Jnana from Ramakrishna Paramhamsa

So long as the child remains engrossed with its toys, the mother looks after her cooking and other household duties.

But when the child no longer relishes the toys, it throws them aside and yells for its mother. Then the mother takes the rice-pot down from the hearth, runs in haste, and takes the child in her arms.

Can you weep for Him with intense longing of heart?

Men shed a jugful of tears for the sake of their children, for their wives, or for money. But who weeps for God?

When the head of a goat is severed from its body, the trunk struggles for some time, still showing signs of life. Similarly, though ahamkara (egotism) is slain in the perfect man, yet enough of its vitality is left to make him carry on the functions of physical life; but it is not sufficient to bind him again into the world.

As a piece of rope, when burnt, retains its form, but cannot serve to bind, so is the ego which is burnt by the fire of Supreme Knowledge.

You may try thousands of times, but nothing can be achieved without God's grace.

One cannot see God without His grace. Is it an easy thing to receive grace?

One must altogether renounce egotism; one cannot see God as long as one feels, 'I am the doer.'

Is it possible to understand God's action and His motive? He creates, He preserves, and He destroys.

Can we ever understand why He destroys? I say to the Divine Mother:

"O Mother, I do not need to understand. Please give me love for Thy Lotus Feet."

The aim of human life is to attain bhakti. As for other things, the Mother knows best. I have come to the garden to eat mangoes. What is the use of my calculating the number of trees, branches, and leaves? I only eat the mangoes; I don't need to know the number of trees and leaves.

What are you to do when you are placed in the world?

Give up everything to Him, resign yourself to Him, and there will be no more trouble for you. Then you will come to know that everything is done by His will.