Saturday, September 29, 2012

Maya....world of illusions.....

Once, the great Sage, Narada, went to Lord Vishnu & asked, "My Lord, what is Maya?.....everyone in the universe seems to get entangled in the games of Maya ?? Please explain the secrets & nature of Maya".... Vishnu smiled at his favourite disciple & said, "The world is my Maya....it cant be explained....it has to be experienced.....so I create it deliberately, so everyone understands through experience....moves beyond entanglement & realizes me". Narada looked mystified, the explanation not adequate enough, he implored.
Vishnu smiled, understanding his devotee's desire for more....he said, "Lets go for a walk"....both set out on foot & kept walking for long, enjoying nature, till they came to a desert. Curiosity getting better of him, Narada asked, " Where are we going my Lord....how can I experience Maya in a desert ?".....Vishnu kept smiling as they walked. After walking a little longer, Lord Vishnu sat down under the shade of a tree & said, "I am tired & thirsty, my throat is parched.....can you get me some water to drink please ?"......" I shall rush & fetch some water right away my Lord....please wait & rest here", saying this Narada left in search.

After running around for a while in despair & concern, suddenly, he saw a small hut at a distance, & with hope, rushed towards the settlement. By the time he reached the hut & knocked at the door, he was himself out of breath, tired & exhausted. An exquisite looking, yet simple village belle opened the door, taking Narada completely by surprise. He somehow stammered, 'Can you give me some water to drink please...I am very thirsty...." In ancient Hindu tradition, a guest(Atithi) at the door is treated as God.... "Atithi Devo Bhava". The word Atithi means, someone who has come without any appointment......he could be God in disguise.......so he should be welcomed home & treated well.
The girl, true to the traditions, invited him inside & made him sit. She then, offered him drinking water along with some home made sweets. Narada, was overwhelmed. He was also mesmerized by her beauty & soft voice. Hungry as he was, he accepted the offerings gratefully & quenched his thirst & hunger. Tired & exhausted, Narada, then lied down to rest & fell asleep.....suddenly, he was dreaming.....how nice it would be to settle down into matrimony with this beautiful girl....she is so well mannered, so cultured,.....I could settle down here itself, & raise a family.....what else can one ask for ???
Meanwhile, the girl's father returned home & saw a handsome young man resting in peace.....the daughter explained the chain of events. As a father, he naturally wanted his daughter married to an able person.....He looked at the young man resting in peace. Narada was a handsome looking, learned sage & therefore a very sought after groom. So when Narada woke up, the father of the girl, after exchanging pleasantries spoke about a possible alliance. He of course put a condition, that Narada, will have to stay with them here itself & raise his family. Narada, too was keen....he had been dreaming....so he consented immediately. All the three souls, the daughter, her father & Narada, were overjoyed. The very next day, Narada got married to the girl in proper rituals......he was over the moon with joy.....life had suddenly become so wonderful.....from a wandering nomad to a blissfully settled family. He started building his world.....a home, a field to grow crops, riches, et all.
Life moved on, & in time Narada & his wife were blessed with two lovely sons. Both grew up to be very cultured & obedient, as Narada started becoming worldly successful....he had everything that he had desired, as years rolled by.
Suddenly, one evening, disaster struck in the shape of a cyclonic storm.......it was raining very heavily & there was floods...water level started rising, as people around ran for shelter. Narada along with his wife & children, gathered whatever they could in a couple of bundles & stepped out of the home, which was already devastated......they got onto a boat, & Narada started to row furiously.....his mind focused of saving his family.....suddenly a huge wave came & swept away his younger son....all efforts to save were in vain, as the deluge of water took away the helpless child.....next the boat capsized, as the swirling waters was beyond control.....the bundle of riches washed away.....Narada, his wife & their elder son started swimming wildly, staying as close as possible.....but the son could not manage to hold any longer, as another huge wave devoured him....& finally his beloved wife too succumbed to the flooding waters....
Narada, was left alone, as he managed to swim to a safe land.....he was beyond grief.....he had lost his sons, his wife.......everything that he had built was gone....he started to weep, inconsolably....."how can I live without my loved ones?", he sobbed....

Suddenly someone nudged him lovingly......."Hey Narada, wake up....what happened ??.....where is my water....I am so thirsty?".....Narada opened his eyes & saw Lord Vishnu, smiling at him......"My Lord, I lost everything.....my wife, my children, my riches...everything.....how could life be so cruel to me??? please get them back for me.....I cant live without them"...
Lord Vishnu smiled & said, " Wake up Narada.....it was all an illusion....a Maya !!!....there was nothing....you were dreaming for a while. You were to go fetch water for me & then you fell asleep. Whatever you experienced, was all Maya !!!"
Realisation dawned on Narada......he touched the feet of Lord Vishnu in reverence......Narayan, Narayan !!!

We all are caught up in the entanglement of Maya in this world....all illusions.....we think we have created, we have accumulated, we have powers to control, when we cannot even control our thoughts.....the more we resist, the more it persists.....entangled in Maya brings misery......understanding it, helps redemption.....

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