What do you think is the one thing that allows us to connect with ourselves at a level that only we can fathom?
Don’t we go on and on about ‘Being true to ourselves?’
What is the concept of introspection at all?
Okay, forget about all these questions and think.
How does one arrive at a question?
What leads you to seek out an answer for something?
Is it the presence of clarity that leads us to look at things and question them in this way?
Or is it the presence of confusion that overwhelms you with an urgency to seek answers?
If you think about it enough, you probably won’t find it surprising that what lead Siddhartha, a prince, to renounce all worldly possessions and comforts in search of ‘the truth’ and transform in to the Buddha, is also what lead
Kalidasa, a rustic, illiterate, stuttering lumberjack to leave home in the search of knowledge and brilliance; after his wife (a princess and a scholar), threw him out of the bed chambers on their wedding night, mocking his stupidity.
And probably it was the same force that drove ‘Adi Kavi’ Valmiki to give up the ways of a bandit and embrace the path of piousness as a path to his transformation.
If you haven’t heard the story of the first Sanskrit poet in history, it makes for the most amazing story of transformation that you are ever likely to read anywhere.
There was once a cruel bandit who would loot and kill travelers as a means of subsistence for himself and his family. He had no other skills, or knowledge other than to loot kill and snatch. That was the only way he knew how to look after his wife and kids.
One day, as legend has it, his path was crossed by Narada Muni, a Vedic sage, famous as a travelling musician and storyteller, who carries news and enlightening wisdom. Now vedic culture in itself is strife with tons of stories and literature that go on and on so if it catches your fancy you might enjoy looking Narada up. However, it would suffice to say that his role is described as an extremely learned sage gifted with the talent of traveling anywhere instantaneously. The paradox he represents is that his warnings ensure events taking place rather than helping people avoid them.
So Narada ran into Ratnakara one day and upon being apprehended he was most surprised at Ratnakara’s ignorance who seemed to know nothing at all about Narada, the concept of god etc.
So in trying to save himself, (which was obviously a pretense as Narada could travel anywhere at will) Narada tried to reason with Ratnakara, who at that moment was wearing a necklace of severed little fingers around his neck.
“Why are you doing this?” enquired Narada.
“What do you mean? This is all I know.” retorted Ratnakara.
Aren’t you afraid of the punishment waiting for you in the other world?
What punishment? Why should I be punished. I am doing what I can for my wife and children. Fulfilling my duty, this is my karma.
And what about the wives and children of those you kill?
Well, the sin isn’t mine alone to bear. I’m doing this for my family.
Oh really smiled Narada. Are you sure? Would your wife say the same?
What do you mean? Of course laughed Ratnakara.
Okay, I’ll wait right here for you why don’t you go home and ask you wife and children if they will bear the burden of your sins in the next life or even this one.
How do I know you won’t run away before I’m back.
I can assure you I won’t run away.
Ratnakara returned after a long while and found Narada waiting for him patiently by a rock.
So then Ratnakara. What did your wife have to say?
She said the karma is mine alone to bear. It is my responsibility to care for her and our family and whatever I do in that direction is my cross to bear. I can’t believe it.
So Narada smiled and showed Ratnakara the path to self realization through immersion in God. He gave him the name of Vishnu’s 8th avatar, (incarnation) Lord Rama and asked him to go on repeating it day and night until he reaches enlightenment.
However, so cruel a bandit had been Ratnakara that when he sat down in penance chanting ‘Rama‘ he could only at most bring himself to chant ‘Mara‘ ( Meaning ‘To Kill’) but with the simplicity of a bandit wanting to change, Ratnakara kept on chanting of the same name whichever way he could and it lead him to something else: maRA MaRA MaRA Mara.
(Noticed something here?)
Finally one day, travelling through the forest, near the banks of the river Tamasaa, Valmiki’s eyes fell upon a pair of Saras cranes making love when suddenly a hunter’s arrow pierced the heart of the male cronch and the female overcome by sorrow begin to encircle his dead body, wailing.
Valmiki’s tongue let forth a flurry of poetic verses that surprised him.
Maa Nishada Pratistham Tvamagamahsāsvati SamaaYat Kraunchamithunaadekam Avadhi Kaamamohitam
His curse literally meant “Oh Hunter! May you not get respect for eons for you killed one unsuspecting ‘Kraunch’ from the pair when they were excited making love with one other.”
Valmiki was barely coming to terms with his automatic flow of poetry when Narada appeared smiling knowingly.
“You seem to have turned into a poet my friend” he smiled.
“I’m afraid so” replied Valmiki.
Good, this is as was meant to be. Now you must write the story of the prince of Ayodhya, Lord Rama.
And that is how we’re told that the first edition of the epic Ramayana was written.
In the same way, the Buddha found what he was looking for, attaining enlightenment under the Bodhi tree. He later established the Eight Fold Path.
Gandhi became the great he became after returning to India. Mandela found the way to build the rainbow nation after forgiving his captors of 27 years.. 27 years!
Everyone who sets out to find something returns having found it. You either find what you are looking for or find out it doesn’t exist. Either way, you find what was lost all along to you…Tweet
You find yourself!
And THAT is what is known to us as CLARITY.
Confusion is where you start.
It’s not a permanent state and it isn’t a final state by any means.
Confusion is that starting point where an artist is figuring out how to bring the masterpiece in his imagination out on the canvas wading through the colours, brushes, charcoal, oil and rough edges, water colour et all.
At one point midway into the creation of even the greatest masterpieces, the observer can be forgiven for thinking that he is looking at a disaster not a painting. Return when the work is complete and you realize how the world changes.
You start with a sea of thoughts to wade through.
You start with ‘Impressions’ and ‘Perceptions’; Figments of your imagination and fragments of your doubts. You soon acquire an intense need to understand. A need to rationalize what you see, you feel.
Then you realize an urgency to discover the answer, a pressing need to be able to make sense of everything.
Then you realize what you need is clarity, to be able to listen to yourself, your thoughts, your fears, your views.
When you realize where you lack clarity, You Get It!
So the next time you are unsure, that you find yourself hopeless and confused, understand that it is probably your path to clarity.
And clarity is the path to discovering yourself!
All the great people that ever walked this planet have learned how to look for that which calls out to them. Truth is, all you have to do is wipe out from the frame everything else getting in the way.
Great people don’t see ‘confusion’, they see an opportunity to use all of the mental energy that builds confusions so they can channel it to ‘see’ clearly.Tweet
Michelangelo was once asked how he was able to sculpt such immaculate pieces of art with minuscule margins for error. His simple explanation was that he could see the end product already in the block of stone, all he did as a sculptor was remove the extra stone!
Take the example of some of the biggest achievers in the world. They all started from a point of unrest, mental or otherwise. All that struggle, lead them to their destiny. Here are a few:
Henry Ford: His early businesses failed and left him broke 5 times until he finally came up with innovative ideas for assembly lines and cars.
Charles Darwin: Gave up on a medical career and was mostly a failure in his early days. His father thought he will not amount to much as he was lazy and dreamy. A tour on the HMS Beagle sometime later changed all that as this was where he conceived the idea of ‘Evolution’.
Abraham Lincoln: Was mostly a failure at everything he tried, most of his life until finally in his old age, until he began to succeed as a politician.
Great people keep their heads even when they are surrounded by complete pandemonium. Because they KNOW when the storm subsides, the rainbow appears!