Wednesday, December 28, 2022

When I Walked Like a Saint...

Why was I doing intense tapas?

By the time, my wet clothes dried a bit in the bright sultry sun, I contemplated sitting on a conveniently flat rock on an oblong island in the middle of Giri River near Sri Badrika Ashram. It had been 40 hours since I had drunk anything and near about 48 hours since I had eaten anything. The day before, on MahaShivratri I had kept fast. Today, since morning I was searching for a dog but could not find it. I did not eat or drink without completing my charity work, which include feeding cow, dog and birds.

From the morning, I was looking for a dog - big or small, black or white, furry or skinny but could not find. I went downhill and far along the length of the river. On the way, I saw three mongooses, two dwarf brown cows, a male Asian paradise flycatcher, a spotted dove, an eagle, a pair of pied kingfisher, yellow-vented bulbuls, red whiskered bulbuls, many blue-fronted redstart, parakeets, uncountable rock doves, warblers in various sizes and a Mallard duck taking off from the river Giri but did not see a stray dog! I came back and searched it in ashram. Once again went downhill in a hope to find one, this time in hurry I forgot to wear my shoes instead wore flip flops. I searched it again but no success. I sat down for a while on a rock to take rest. On the other side of the river, I noticed some cows, goats and a shepherd. Assuming that there must be a dog along with them, I decided to cross the river. I took my jacket in my hand and carefully putting one baby step at a time on slippery and precipitous stones crossed a portion of river with shallow water and reached the island. On the other side, the river was quiet fast. I loved going adventure. I pulled up my lowers a bit higher and started walking in the swift flow. The stones beneath my feet were abrupt and perilous. This time I was more careful but hardly had I taken 5-6 steps that I found myself struggling to maintain my balance on algae covered rocks in the high-speed water and abruptly fell into the river. I got up and decided to come back instead of continuing my adventurous journey further.  

I sat on the same rock with my jacket spread on a nearby rock. I was feeling neither hungry nor thirsty although my throat was dry and lips were dehydrated. Tired of brooding over a thought about my intense tapas, I opted to enjoy the present moment. I shed off thoughts of unchangeable past and reflections about the unknown future. The nature was mesmerizing. The murmuring sound of ever-flowing water, warmth of radiant sun, shade of forever-moving clouds, fragrant and cool breeze, chirping of bulbuls and ballet of swallows and willows on pale blue floor. Now I was enjoying every moment of my life. All of a sudden from nowhere a patchy brown dog wailing its tail slightly jumping between the rocks came towards me. I fed biscuits to it. The time in my mobile watch showed 12:40 pm and dining hall would be closed after 20 minutes. I hurriedly picked up my jacket, bolted on the uneven rocks and put my right feet in the shallow water of river to cross it. I slipped. This time, I managed to maintain my balance and did not fall. Though, the little stopper that holds the strap of flip flop came out, one lose end of Y-shaped strap made it unfit to wear it. I tried to push it back with the help of a twig but could not. I hold my slippers in my hand and started walking on treacherous path after crossing the river. The piercing stones beneath my feet made taking even one-step further very difficult. They were penetrating in my soft skin making my walk extremely painful. I told my mind that under my feet are not piercing stones rather soft rose petals. I took the next step and I felt less pain. I told my mind to have firm belief that delicate rose petals were spread on the path. I took one more step and there was neither pricking nor piercing only softness of petals that my sole felt. With full control on my mind, I erased the difference between sharp stones and soft petals. Pain and pleasure became alike. I walked like a saint- mindfully and calmly. I enjoyed every delicate step that I took. A fountain of equanimity erupted inside me!

Pic : Pixabay

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