Friday, May 26, 2023

The grandeur of the inner world

Kannada Article by: Sumukha Hebbar
English Rendering by: Padmini Shrinivasan
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Praveen, a youth, was describing to his immediate family members, the beauty of parks, grandeur of buildings, lakes and rivers of a city he visited. A lad in the group who was listening to Praveen's description, thought this was sheer exaggeration and such a city could never exist! He raised an allegation that, all this was Praveen's imagination. Praveen heard all of it patiently and replied "If you accompany me, I will show you all of it. But, the path is formidable". The enthusiastic lad took it as a challenge and agreed to accompany. Both of them left.

The path was fraught with pebbles, stones, thorns, hillocks, forests etc. Praveen being familiar with the terrain, moved forward with ease, while the lad kept fainting on a couple of occasions, as he was not used to such hardships. Relaxing often and guided by Praveen he managed to move forward without collapsing. Praveen's words were succor to him, to proceed ahead. Travelling thus, one fine day, they reached the wonderful city and started enjoying its charm. The lad was convinced and accepted Praveen's description.

Bhaarateeya Itihaasas and Puraanas portray many such places. It is told that Shiva resides with his attendants at Kailasa. It seems Vishnu reclines over a huge snake, floating over the milky ocean, in a divine location named Vaikuntha! Swarga is the divine court of lord Indra. It is the dwelling of Indra, Agni, Varuna and other demigods. Celestial damsels Rambha, Urvashi, Menaka, Tillottama, dance in that court. As per sacred texts, the abode of lord Yama is a place, where people get punished for their sins. This way, not just about many places, scriptures vividly describe demigods - their features, attire and ornamentation, vehicle, weapons etc. Observing these, it is obvious that queries such as "Does it really exist? Or is it imaginary?" are but natural.

The vision of Maharsis was not limited to the physical world alone. By subjugating their sense organs, they possessed an ability, to extend and navigate it to the astral as well as to the spiritual domains, traversing through formidable terrains. The eternal and joyful Truth, which unveiled itself through their inner vision, was presented to the exterior world unadulterated, through the medium of Itihaasas, Puraanas, literature, hymns as well as through the idols sculpted in temples. A well-treaded path to comprehend this Truth is also well laid down by them.

Just as Praveen led the lad, through a formidable path full of obstacles, our rshis have taken the place of preceptors to guide their disciples till they visualize and experience the Eternal Truth. Srīrangamahāguru used to clarify: "Those who narrate to us, after experiencing the inner Truth are the real aaptas (meaning accomplished in Sanskrit and intimate people in Kannada)." Their Truth- impregnated speech is aaptavaakya (authorized or a well-warranted speech). Let us all wish that we too qualify one day to witness such a Truth, treating these scriptures as proofs and treading our lives using them as a means to attain Supreme Knowledge.
Note: The Kannada version of this article can be viewed at AYVM blogs.