Anjaneya – The Beginning

Anjaneya

This was in a time before men were as now. More kin to animal than man. More raw instinct than thought. Every inflection of mind indulged without an overarching plan beyond the impulses of life. Mind was as a tail, twitching, dangling, swinging. All becoming was what She ordained. The leap from a branch to another, the teeth baring grin, the litany of postures were all Her. We knew everything it seemed.

I was the first. Out of my mother’s womb, I was bathed in glowing mane. Anjana, I heard them call, it would be while before I understood speech, but I knew..Anjana, it was her, the one who had consented to yield me, forever I would bear her name. Behind just one name which I would know much later.

Of all simians I could stay in place. Unmonkey-like they said, sick, will be nothing, will not see as many summers as fingers in our hands. I knew not why, this was within, this is what I was. I could stay still. Had no need for trees, or to jump..I saw a vaster forest in my mind, hints of wildness and power that fellow simians longed for, I saw unlimited monkeyness possible within..my antics were within. Where my brothers were content with meagre leaps between trees, I leapt to the Sun thinking it a ripe fruit. I was different.

It would be many years before I heard that name. A mere rumor, that travelled on the whims of men. A man who was more than man. God they said. Who in his stillness was more than all the chattering of men. Like me I thought. It was born then, an ardor, a flame within..and I wanted to see him. I, a monkey, a mere simian had loved something without seeing. The name, the syllables would soon be more than my mother. I said it once again in my mind, savoring each inflection of sound, “Rrraamaa, Rrraamaa”.

With those first utterances I would be bound to him forever. He Sri Rama and I Anjaneya, son of Anjana.

Paintings credits – Paritosh Sarda

A Story by Sri Ramakrishna On Aspiration

In response to a query from a devotee, Sri Ramakrishna tells a story on how we should aspire to the Divine. This is my retelling of that story, in response to question on why I had said that the Sadhana we perform is paltry.

There was once a widow with a young son. With no earning member the family, they had to subsist on the generosity of villagers.

The boy was soon of school going age. There was an operational hassle, the school had to be reached by going through a forest. Those who could afford had their bullock carts or other helpers to ferry the kids to school and back. Our little boy had none of these, so naturally he was scared and reluctant.

The mother then does what every soul with no recourse amongst the living does, she kneels and holds him close to her and says, “Do not fear my dearest, you have a brother, Krishna is his name. Call him when you are afraid”.

For the mother, her child is all that makes life worth living. The love she bestows upon him sustains her. She fears as every mother that something would befall him. But what else could she do? She who would gladly give her life to let her child grow, gives him up at the feet of Sri Krishna.

The boy takes his mother’s word to heart and starts his trek to school. The unfamiliar always evokes fear. A barefoot, barely clothed 6-7 year old is no different. It is soon dark in the dense jungle and the path barely visible. The first tendrils of fear clutch him. Every play of shadow and rustling of trees are promises of horrors that would soon fall on him.

The Fates slay heroes, a child is no match and he is soon broken.

Crying and knowing his mother would not hear even if he called, he remembers what she told about a brother. He does not know this brother, never seen him and sees none around. But the fear soon overwhelms and he cries out, “Krishnaaa, Krishnaaa”.

No answer.

Was his mother wrong, does he really have a brother? But he knew his mother never lied.

So he cries out again, fear choking him, cowering amidst the forest clearing, “Krishnaaa..O Krishnaaa”.

And suddenly, from behind a tree comes out a stranger, a young lad of 9 or 10 years, clothed like a shepherd, a peacock feather stuck in his head. Smiling, he walks to the boy and says, “You called”.

Sri Krishna in Forest

I have found a lot of times that is all there is. That cry, that single cry of the entire being. And the answering grace from the friend of man and the goal of our journeys. The prayers we offer, the sadhana we perform is paltry. We cover ourselves in rituals, mantras and prayers, all of which are ineffective without that cry. Sri Krishna can indeed walk in front wherever you are reading this. What is needed is the cry, everything else is pittance.

How to Invoke a Deity

Senses Closed, Open Within

Senses Closed, Open Within

Go where human taint has not disfigured things. Bare foot, let clay and soil and water of the earth dress your feet.

Dig fingers deep into earth, draw out a clump of sand flesh, this will be the body of Him.

Mould sand flesh into a shape of your aspiration. What this will be will be guided from within.

Whether sage bare, or winged horses, or many armed hero, or many minded priest, or reclining God, or playful herd-boy…what it will be shall be guided.

Sand flesh formed, now erect it on a seat.

Sit in front and gather the following – Every thought that strays, every desire self you have lent unto living and dead things, every impulse that animates your thoughts, every virtue, every vice..everything.

These gathered make of them a garland; each segment will be a thing of vileness or perversion or despicable or grand or noble or sublime or even beautiful.

This is as it should be, an offering is perfect when it is what it is.

This garland of old becomings and impulses gently lay in front of your aspiration’s shape.

Now open yourself, as bare hungry earth lays prone to a pregnant sky.

Cast away every thought and impulse that occurs, be as the first man ape who waited for a thunder wielding hero.

Wait. Wait. Wait.

You shall see that skies of self are vaster than earth.

Slowly there is a tear in the fabric of self and something trickles through.

Wide, Vast and Puissant.

This is but one limb of the Deity.

Hold on to it.

From mere sand flesh a bigger self has been born and thou art the mid-wife of it.

Photo Credit: Andres Rodriguez via Compfight