It happened suddenly! The trip to Mauritius (5-10 September, 2011) came completely out of the blue, a gift from the gods, as it were ! It was not in my mind and certainly not on the agenda, yet it happened, almost on its own. I have to thank Poojya Guruji and the powers above for this rare opportunity.
The first thing that struck us, just as the aircraft was descending, was the pure blue sky and the pristine blue water all around this amazing island. The surrounding mountains of different hues and sizes had peaks in shapes entirely their own – leaving our imagination to run riot! This one looked like a dome, that one like the shikhar of a temple – so lovingly crafted by nature over thousands of years!
It was not for nothing that Mark Twain wrote in his travelogue Following the Equator that God first created Mauritius and then modelled Heaven on it !
Nature’s bounty was amply matched by the “rich and precious verses” of Adi Sankara’s Dhanyashtakam (morning discourses) which began with the description of the nature and goal of true Knowledge. Thereafter, we are shown the path which is to be followed in order to reach the goal, then the obstacles that have to be countered and overcome on the way.
As ordinary mortals, we love to acquire and hoard worldly things. “Acquisition” explained Guruji, “is great but renunciation is a greater state of bliss.” However, we can’t stop there itself because even that is not enough. We have to become serious seekers of the Higher Truth – that Truth, “having known which, we attain immortality” (or freedom from constant change). This Knowledge leads to Enlightenment. Such enlightened persons are known as Dhanya or Gunateet or Sthitapragya, for their heart is filled with supreme bliss – a wealth that cannot be stolen or lost.
We become easily attached to objects around us. These sense objects create in us a host of desires, anger, fear and temptation. But a person of wisdom and understanding conquers his dependence on, and attachment to, such objects through a process of gradual renunciation. This renunciation can happen only when there is an intense desire for a higher goal. More often than not, we choose to remain deluded, identifying ourselves with our physical bodies and being at the mercy of our senses.
As a result, we get tossed and turned by waves of arrogance, attachment, likes and dislikes – much like the sea at Blue Bay, Marine Park in Mauritius where one could see the huge waves at a distance. The waves were kept away from the shore by the natural coral reef barrier which was completely impenetrable even for the mighty waves! A clear case of Nature controlling Nature!
This unusual and picturesque sight has a hidden but clear message for all seekers. If our mind is like the ocean, then the waves are like the agitation of the mind. But the comparison ends here. Unlike the coral reef which does not allow waves to enter its territory, we easily allow the agitations to enter and disturb our minds. This was so completely reminiscent of the Bhagwad Geeta Chapter XIV (evening discourses), wherein Poojya Guruji talked of the play of the three gunas and how external circumstances ( paristhiti) completely overwhelm our minds (manahsthiti).
What we need is equipoise of mind and behaviour. But how does one get that? By studying Upnisadas under the guidance of a guru (Upanisad artha rasa . pibantah). Instead, we remain bound by the ‘I’ and ‘Mine’ thoughts; or as Tulsidasji put it, constantly caught up in the notions of aham and mama (Main aru mor tor tain maya).
Once we learn to distinguish between the real and temporary happiness, we will be able to renounce the three types of bondages of this ever-changing world (vittesana, putresana and lokesana of this Dukhalayam).
Satsang in the sacred company of our Gurus, sages and saints helps us to tread the path of Liberation. Through Satsang, the seeker develops “the ability to face life and to build life.”
Let us “Arise, Awake” and be counted, say the Upnisadas! Let us “learn about the one Reality from the wise” so that we never have to feel dejected, confused or deluded.
Om Tat Sat