This is a story Mooji shared during the 2012 Silent Retreat in Tiruvannamalai. Enjoy....
"It was this story that papa[papaji] told me, I say like this, about one girl, and she was just about to get married, no, and she was, the next day, she’s getting married the next day, and she’s been planning everything for this wedding, because it’s a traditional place. And in this place, you don’t get to be with your beloved in any intimate way, until you are married. So, tomorrow is the wedding, no, tomorrow is the wedding day, yes, and so today, she must make the final arrangement. And this girl lives in the forest. She lives in the forest and she’s, now today, final arrangements, she has a few appointments. First I must go to the cake maker. And after the cake maker, I must see the dressmaker. After the dressmaker I must go and see the priest, to go through my vows. And then finally at the end of the day I will see my beloved, and we’ll have a cup of tea together, look forward to tomorrow, and then tomorrow I’ll be, we’ll be in each other’s arms, oh wonderful! And she’s full of the joys of Spring. And she’s walking out in the forest to go to see the cake maker, first appointment on the list. And after a few steps, right in front of her, steps a lion. Face to face, like this. Hungry lion also. And she can feel it’s breath….like this. Then in that instant, you see, the cake maker’s appointment is gone. Then the dressmaker, not there. The priest, not there. Only the beloved, also not there. In this moment, absolutely alone. No time, no future, no intention, no past, no identity. So the master says, “welcome the lion on your path”. Because until then, you are planning a tomorrow you don’t have, a next week that nobody promise and all of this. And our minds are full of the noise of otherness. What will bring you to this instant this moment? When will you spend one moment to be just you? Not carrying some message for tomorrow or something. You see? And it’s the habit that all of us, we have it. And so we are full of noise, claustrophobic with noise. What will strip you back to that place? Beyond time and intention, you see. How far are you from this place now? What’s left to do? What unfinished business is left to do? Before you can simply be your being, be yourself. Because the mind is not going to have a holiday. There is something that is not in the next moment, not in the past moment, also. Don’t look anywhere to find it. Even your very search to find it is already arising in it. We are missing the obvious. Don’t seek help from your mind….."
Our Common Ancestor
Recently I saw an interview on television with Jane Goodall who in 1960 began studying chimpanzees in East Africa. Her mentor, the archaeologist and anthropologist Louis Leakey, was interested in whether chimpanzees and humans exhibit similar kinds of behaviour. If they do, this would support archaeological evidence indicating we share a common ancestor. During the interview Goodall spoke about an occasion when she was walking through the bush with one of the chimpanzees she was studying and getting to know. After a while they stopped and she offered the chimpanzee a piece of fruit. Looking her in the eyes he took the fruit, dropped it, then squeezed her hand - then got up and carried on down the path. Goodall was so astonished she just sat there for a while, taking in what had happened. It seemed obvious that although he had refused the food, he wanted her to know he was grateful. He didn’t want to hurt her feelings. It was just how a human being might have responded.
She then described another scene. Some evenings the chimpanzees would gather by a waterfall. They didn’t go there for any practical reason – they weren’t going there to drink or eat or sleep. It seemed they were simply going to look. As they looked they swayed from foot to foot, as if they were dancing. Jane imagined that for them the water cascading down was a mysterious, awe-inspiring thing for “it was always flowing in, always flowing out, and always there”. In the face of this magical vision, what did they do?
Her picture of the waterfall is a perfect description of the present moment – things are always flowing in to this timeless awareness, always flowing out of it, and always present in it. Though what is in the emptiness is always changing, yet there’s always something in it. How amazing.
What is your (human!) response to the miracle of this moment, the miracle of sounds, colours, sensations and all the rest, flowing into and out of this timeless emptiness?
I love to dance!
For information about Jane Goodall:
Must I say in words what I would sooner cherish in the secret sacred stillness of my heart - what Gurudev means to me? And if I must, how shall I do it? How does anyone ever express the transcendental? What can I express with words, words that are all fury and no achievement, words that are mere pygmies from the petty kingdom of Sound, gnawing ineffectually at the towering mountain of Silence? I think there are words in some deep recess within me that are yet unknown to language, even unknown to sound.... I feel their embryonic flutter as I struggle for expression…
I sit upon the bank and watch the river flow by, carrying in its flood an endless variety of shapes and forms. Some struggle and cry in fear “Let me live, let me live” but they go under, a faint ripple marking momentarily the end of their pilgrimage on earth. Before long, even that passes away, and the smooth waters glide unconcerned with deceptive serenity. Some go laughing by, happy and playful, till they and their laughter recede beyond the horizon, and the sudden silence leaves in ominous doubt whether they and their laughter have already ceased, or have yet a little way to go. Some float by too lost in stupor to know their fate, much less to care, and they sink here or yonder, it matters not. Once in a rare while, mercifully not oftener, there passes the gnarled countenance of one who grabs a weak victim and suffocates him as though he decides who alone will survive, but a moment later that one too vainly seeks desperate protection as the derisive waters part and unite, and a glossy innocence hides another secret.
I watch this dismal awesome unending procession, and suddenly wonder why I am not a part of it. I realize then that my body is wet and the water is dripping from my hair. I must have been drifting all too recently in the river myself. How was I saved?
I turn around and look up. I look into the face of Benevolence. Therein is a tenderness like the soft light of a candle. Therein is a radiance like that of the eastern sky at dawn. Therein is a fragrance like that of a dew-kissed rose.
I cling to His feet, and He smiles. He smiles for the dead and the living. He smiles for the saved and the lost. He smiles for the river and the bank. Nothing is said. Nothing remains unsaid.
Gurudev, I know not what you are. I know but a thousandth part of Thy Grace. Tears in the eyes must speak for me, not words upon the lips.
From Paada Pooja by V. Dwaraknath Reddy
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