Saturday, December 28, 2013

Switching Allegiance

All my life, it is Krishna that I have liked. Rama never appealed to me.

It was my father who was devoted to Rama (how boring I thought), though he has a collection of Krishna statues at home and quotes Him often from the Geetha.

Rama was no match for Krishna’s charm, dynamism, diplomacy, energy and playfulness.
His virtue of obedience to father was not particularly attractive though his loyalty to one woman was a consolation and a rare example among Gods and demigods.

During my growing years, I read the Mahabharata again and again and as a result remember minute details of the story. I could answer most of the quiz questions on KBC or other quiz contests.
But the Ramayana, I read only once. And once more in high school for a certain exam. I remember only the outline of the story, may be its spine, a few ribs but no flesh and blood, to be sure.

Rama was always a faraway God, Krishna was near to the heart, more personal, more intimate.

But in the recent times, very gradually, very subtly, very slowly, this changed.
I did not even know about it.

I should have doubted it when I listened to that slow classical song in which the singer takes the name of Rama in a most imploring tone and I was touched by the yearning and longing in the voice.

But I realized it finally when I found myself going back to the song again and again and looking forward to that particular line and sang along beseechingly.

Then came the songs from my memory, always there but never visited, songs praising Rama, recounting his tale or simply mentioning him, they came to me one after another and I found a newfound love for those songs.

I became conscious of it, with a sense of mild surprise.

Then followed the understanding.

I had entered a new phase of growth in life.

Sure, as a general principle, all our outside world is a reflection of who we are inside, all changes without are a reflection of changes within.

But a change from Krishna to Rama, was no simple change, it must require transformation of a deep nature.

Acquiring a new taste – for a colour, or a song, a fruit – it does not take much.
But a new God? It takes everything.

And sure, I am going through transformation.

The fire is part of me and will be there but the waters have become deeper.
I will keep jumping in the air but my feet have found their ground.
I will continue to believe that I can change, I can control, but very importantly, I have learnt to let go.
I talk and sing and joke when I find the right company but more often than not I find myself keeping quiet.
I want to get back at the offender but I don’t lift a finger, I simply leave it to divine retribution these days.
I believe in human effort and action but I have seen the power of surrender – it leaves God with no other choice than to take care of you.

I will continue to love Krishna, but I have found Rama.
And it feels like a closure to my search – not so much for a God, but for the final destiny of my philosophy, my value system and ideology in life that have travelled far and long through various stages of birth, growth, digression, loss, discovery, branching, convergence and then lingered for long, waiting for their final calling.
For what does God stand for, if not a value system, a philosophy of life?

The calling has, as if, come. And the growth has begun.

From Smartness to Sincerity. Charm to Calm. Energy to Equanimity. Effervescence to Gravity. Vogue to Virtue. Tact to Truth...

Forgiveness? I don’t see it anywhere on the horizon but it will come.

On the table before me is the book “Lectures on Ramayana” by The Right Honourable VS Srinivasa Shastri once known to possess English of the highest standard in India.
I collected this book from a second hand bookshop years ago, upon recommendation by my father. Since then, several times it has been ‘the next book on my agenda”. Perhaps the time was not ripe.

Perhaps it is so now.

This year has come to an end with these thoughts and with this post.

New year is just a few days away. I have decided that it MUST be a better year than this one for book reading.
Let me begin my reading for the new year with this rare and precious book on Rama.
Let me also begin the new year with beautiful English :)