It was 5 am and the day was 15th August. Standing in the balcony of my room, a bit tired after reading ‘Papillon’- a book on the life of a prisoner- I was listening to the rhymes of the monsoon rain. It was an authentic moment, a moment to be succumbed and enjoyed. The serenity was disturbed by the sound of the bell from a nearby temple of Lord Krishna. I made a move towards my room to sleep. Looking at the statue of Lord Mahavira inside my room a curious thought struck me. I started pondering about the meaning of independence to Krishna and Mahavira.
Suddenly I felt someone’s presence in the room. I turned to look but there was no human form. My apprehension got better of me and I was about to close my eyes when entire room was lit up by a sparkling sensation. I was thunderstruck. An effulgent face – full of beauty, energy and life – appeared. It has to be Krishna. I looked at the other side of the room and there was Mahavira’s face – full of peace and enlightenment. What was it, a dream or a hallucination or a blessing?
My confusion was put to rest as Mahavira spoke – “We are here to enlighten you with the meaning of Independence.”
With a devotee’s enthusiasm I looked at both the incarnations.
Mahavira started – “Independence or Freedom or Liberation is an uncorrupted state of mind when one realizes the actual self. It is a state when the entire existence and the entire universe become inconsequential. Sorrow does not matter nor does Joy. It is a state of being weightless as a float. However, the real meaning of independence can only be felt. To achieve it, one needs to be zero out the emotions which in turn can only be achieved through freedom from the worldly pleasures. Only a desireless mind can seek liberation. That is why; I chose to be a monk. Dharma of the mind is to seek that eternal liberation, liberation from the positives and the negatives. A Dharmic individual is not the one who follows a religion but is the one who follows the path of liberation.
I wished Jainism to be a guide for that path. But the entire religion of Jainism has been institutionalised by the self- professed disciples who have not understood me. They idolize me, but I intended them to idolize my preaching. To achieve independence, rather than idolising me one should follow the path which I have traversed“
There was silence in the room. I was awestruck.
It was Krishna who spoke then – “To me independence is a process which has to be enjoyed. The final state does matter but what also matter is the process through which you achieve it. Yes it is a state when your mind is devoid of victory and failure and you know the meaning of your existence. Dharma of your life is not only to achieve the ultimate liberation but also to enjoy the process. You have been given this life to go through and experience every emotion. Anger, Fear, Joy, Sex, Pleasure and all other emotions are part of life and how can one be free of them without understanding them. The purpose of this life is to go through the ups and the downs, to experience them and then be indifferent to them. It is here where your Karma guides you. You have the choice to choose your Karma. I chose a life of a King, a Friend, a Charioteer, a warrior and a Lover at various stages of lifetime. At times I was ruthless, at times I was kind, I was violent and at times I cheated too. For the greater cause of my Dharma I experienced it all. One cannot pay obeisance to me in prayers but by living the life, by choosing the right Karma and by experiencing every emotion and hence experiencing life. My true follower is that normal human being who enjoys his life and always strives to choose a better Karma, learn, re choose and re learn. This path may not be easy because at the same instance you need to play multiple roles. Perhaps it is more difficult to live and enjoy the worldly life than to renounce it to achieve the liberation”.
Realizing that I was overwhelmed, they both left in a flash. And again I was watching the statue Mahavira and listening to the morning bells.
But my mind has been restless since then – Which path should I choose to achieve the independence.
Sitting in the balcony of my room as I am writing this I can see the Jain monks on one side of the road and Lord Krishna’s temple on the other side. The Indian Flag – the symbol of independence – is flying high from the top of a building but the path to independence continues to elude me and life of that prisoner continues to haunt me.
- Jainism: Comparison of the Digambara and Svetambara (kaylaplecity.wordpress.com)
- A lesson learned from Bhagvad Gita (katamkiran0.wordpress.com)
- Navi Mumbai: Jains remember Mahavira’s sacrifices (dnaindia.com)
- Be Easy Going with the 8 Wordly Dharmas. (elephantjournal.com)