A Beginning

 

I started the new year with some confidence about Vēdānta’s bare basics and I finally got down to experience my very first reading of the Upanishads.

Right now, I’m a few steps into the Māndukya Upanishad. I might be easily moved, but my experience with the Upanishad has found me more overwhelmed than ever before. Its imports haunt me for most of my days and nights.

I found some quiet-time today and wondered about the sophistication of thought that must have gone into materialising the Upanishads.

My mind soon turned to India. The contrast between the sublime summit of the human condition (celebrated in the Upanishads) and its complete degradation around us today is a very rude anomaly. What keeps these thriving — almost obliviously — in each other’s company?

I paused and memory gradually served me with a generous spark; I recalled Kabīra:

“Buraa jo dekhan mein chalaa, bura na milyaa koi; Jo man khojaa aapna, mujhse buraa na koi.”

“I set out to find evil and found no evil one; I searched my own self and found no one as evil as I.”

I’m now starting to see that the India of my dreams and the India of the demons lie within me. Perhaps it is only in my own salvation, in my own peace with self, that the salvation of India, and even the world, resides.

 

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