Sunday, 13 April 2014

Memories Fond and Frowned

|| Aum Sri Ramakrishna Sharanam||
Sri Hanumanji
Pic- Google images
|| Aum Namo Narayanaya||
The distinctive cry from the squabble of seagulls formed the percussion to an ensemble backed by the treble of the crashing waves and the gentle whistle of the sea breeze potent enough to initiate a noon-time ball between the towering coconut palms and the dainty bougainvillea that flourished unrestricted along the shoreline. Mauritius was captivating in the sun, whilst taking in the aromas emanating from the array of spices simmering over open fire earthen mounds created on the beach. You cannot remain content while the wafting breeze carrying with it the scent of the fragrant foliage challenges your sense of complacency. My artistic appetite was inspired by a feast of artwork as the canvas of the shore was regularly rearranged by the hands of the waves. In some way the definition of paradise seems to find meaning here as you are waited upon hand and foot closing in on all your stress with little room left to manoeuvre... with the only choice to leave you until you return to your normal world. The blaring horn of a passing bus came across like scratch marks on a high definition video releasing my mind from the hold of my holiday. Vexed by the sudden intrusion, I paged through the album with the hope of finding paradise once more. My scepticism of time travel diminished to an extent as I found myself being transported back in time through a photo taken during a holiday. Photos have the inherent and uncanny ability to transport one to the space, time and place of that which was photographed.

Our salutations to Nicephore Niepce who is the inventor of Photography - who enabled us to have an accounted glimpse into history and from the spiritual perspectives gives us the opportunity to view rare photos of our Gurus, Saints and important events that occurred a century ago. People are always appreciative of good photography, I note with keen interest how Swami Vimokshanandaji takes so kindly to exotic and colourful pictures of nature on Google+. These types of pictures inspire and motivate us to be happy and joyous. When I was little, quite ignorant of many things, I asked my parents as to why people don’t take pictures at funerals yet would contract a photographer for all other functions. On maturity, one realises that such morbid pictures shall invoke unpleasantness, distress, pain and partition one from happiness. The beauty of a photo thus lies in the mind of the photographer. His discrimination and focus of the lenses helps create a work of art that has the potential to evince the ebullience of the viewer.

Over the past week, we had the blessed opportunity to relive and share in the lives of Lord Rama and His contemporaries of Ayodhya through the nimble yet illustrious pen of Sage Valmiki or through the consequence editions by other Saints. The trials and tribulations presented through this scripture have presented invaluable life lessons for humanity. Each character in his or her unique way epitomised the highest ideals of dharma or the current weakness of character manifesting in the world. One character who definitely stands out and who has won the hearts of youth and adults alike is Sri Hanumanji. Essentially a monkey, but with super-human strength and unrivalled devotion to Sri Rama, His presence is rather intimidating and unsettling to humans who have all the developed faculties and intelligence, yet cannot match Him in all aspects.

I feel a bit of envious but remain in awe about the absolute bliss that Sri Hanumanji constantly lives in. Although He is not central to the early part of the Ramayana, His heroic deeds, strength, devotion and compassion in the latter part sets the Ramayana alight with intrigue and lustre. For Hanumanji... no task was too small or too big, no task was impossible. He was never sad and lived a life full of perennial joy, vigour and enthusiasm. Today, many in our society invest hundreds of rands taking supplements and engaging in other activities to achieve the same way of life that Sri Hanuman attained.

I am sure that many homeopaths might want to audit His lifestyle to ascertain His diet etc. in order to understand the root of His powers and jubilation. With full certainty they would return disappointed and despondent.

Our life is like a photograph from the past. Our past actions have created the image that we enjoy now. The actions resulting from the state of mind we were in then controls our emotions in the now. We have the choice to continue in perpetuation or to break the cycle through our change in attitude and bhav. Swami Vivekananda said that it is our own mental attitude which makes the world what it is for us. Our thought make things beautiful, our thoughts make things ugly. By performing actions with a pure thought and intention now, the future will result in an inspirational and happy image.

If for some reason you find it very difficult to adopt such a change in attitude and bhav, then your salvation comes in the form of Hamumanji. The only secret to His demeanour is His adoption of dasya bhava or complete and total surrender to Sri Rama. In other words, He has accepted the Lord as His Master and His life’s sole purpose is to serve the Lord. Every action word and thought is for the service of Sri Rama and all His needs is left to the will of Rama.

We are reminded of this when Lord Rama praised Hanuman when He (Hanumanji) returned after finding Sita in Lanka. Hanuman was not a bit elated. He fell in prostration at the holy feet of Lord Rama. Lord Rama asked him, “O mighty hero, how did you cross the ocean?” Hanuman humbly replied, “By the power and glory of Thy Name, my Lord.” Again the Lord asked, “How did you burn Lanka? How did you save yourself?” And Hanuman replied, “By Thy Grace, my Lord.”

If we have to compare this to our photography analogy in discussion then we find that the prints of Sri Hanumanji’s life will be eternally inspirational and blissful because in reality His photographer and lens is Lord Rama. When Hanumanji’s bhav is brought under question, we remember the answer in the hymn Cheer Ke Chaathi Bole Apni Pawan Putra Hanuman – Mere Man Me Base He Ram, Mere Tan Me Base He Ram where Hanumanji tears open His heart and inside reveals Lord Rama and Mother Sita. Like so, may Lord Rama reside in your heart, mind and in every cell of your body and be the photographer of your actions thoughts and deeds.

Our untrained eye may at times by co-incidence snap a good photo, but that by no means makes us a professional. For constant and eternally professional photos, surrender your life to the Lord; be like Hanumanji who as a primate because of His dasya bhava enjoyed the pleasure of Sri Rama’s constant companionship. What is the difficulty for you with developed intelligence and faculties to achieve same?

Happy Hanuman Jayanti to all and may Lord Hanuman guide and inspire us to have a close association with the divine.

Puthaandu Naal Vaazthukal (Happy New Year) to all Tamil-speaking readers.

 With Love and prayers

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