What transpires between a man and a woman when they spend time together in an small coupe all to themselves, on a train that will take them to Kalka and, from there, to Shimla through a journey of about 36 hours … ?
There’s absolutely no chance of it being a love story … but I do see a spiritual thriller in the situation.
“ What remains with two people who come together on promise of love but do not empathise in their unity, and diverge away from-each other ?”
“ What remains with two people who come together on promise of love, deepen their empathy, and unite to mean everything to each other ?”
[ These questions would occur to me when younger and I’d actually posed them to a couple of my friends who were in a relationship then.]
Chapter – I … contd.
I could sense the difficulty in actually fathoming the difference between formal and informal phenomena. Living on the outside, among other matters and things, people and beings, and thinking … of all our concerns in terms of ‘others’ to oneself. We seldom look inward and observe this universe that is us, oneself, to oneself… in the manner of a research project for mapping the processes occuring within – body, vitality, vital mind and associated subconscious phenomena. The start was difficult; progress close to impossible for most. I prayed to this absolute prime mover within me.
“ I can see now, why the word would seem so empty of content despite its familiarity. I’d heard of Satya all my life but always associated it with facts, the few I knew and the rest I still had to.”
” We all did.”
She was very serious, thoughtful, as if she were speaking to herself. I nodded, smiled with complete empathy before looking away. This needed a longer interregnum for the shock to subside.
Sitting cross-legged at the other end of the berth, it was the longest she’d gone self-absorbed, in complete silence. Her state of crisis, probing into the darkness, unable to switch her own light… drove me up into my soul. She was physically still and her breath even, not truncated on its way in or out. A happy surprise, and a good omen.
Looking back on events from that time she had boarded, I felt within an underlying gladness for having an evolved travel companion such as she was. Spiritually, it had been exceptional.
A piercing whistle from the train caused me to glance at her, while the sense of gratitude still rested on my heart.
She was eying the floor in front of her, rested but still absorbed. Amazing, I thought. She looked up from there, straight at me.
” Yes, I can see the person, the events and mental space-time universe. I want to share it with you so that I can ask some more of you. I believe I am trapped in a fulness that has proved empty.”
I wasn’t sure she should. I was no teacher. Nothing in my perspective or way of life resembled those set by the ideal ones.
” Are you sure ? I would suggest you don’t, especially the personals that have remained private thus far.”
” That, I realise, has been a mistake. They all now seem more universal than private. It remained with me because of the absence of someone I could confide to. And because I never felt the need or urgency to do so till this moment.”
” And why do you believe you could share it all with me ?”
” Because you have compassion towards my failings and the kindness to extend help. And you have no interest in possessing my body or mind. This is how fearless and venturesome I feel with you.”
This was a high I was wary of. Very. But a hovering look at the being out there, reaching in through the window, set the matter to rest.
” Yes, it is all more universal than personal; just the degree varied. They are aspects that qualify and distinguish the ‘ packet of being ‘ in an individual’s life from another’s. It wasn’t immaterial, for those variations of degree made a man’s experience rich or poor, but that still did not render it personal.”
I looked askance when she looked up to me as if in awe.
” How do you know all this… so exactly ?”
” It is incidental that you find it to be so. I drew from what I know of myself. That makes it commonplace.”
” So help me now. I can see myself but do not know, in the way you do… enough to know everything else.”
” Lead me on to how I may.”
” First, why isn’t my truth not filled with as much content ? And, why does it not leave me free, to rise into its cause within me … and that into its ?”
” Because, whatever is the context in your thought, its relationship with you leaves you dissatisfied. And, because it’s vital, that leaves you discontent with yourself.”
” That should have been obvious. How to deal with it, as to move on ? That would be helpful.”
” There is no set rule I know of, valid for every individual. Perhaps, if you keep the matter in your understanding without forcing a solution, a way out would appear in view. In the meanwhile, you could spot another context with which you happily relate, to restore the sense of well-being and gratitude for being how are. Everybody is dissatisfied in one context or other.”
” Excellent. However unawares, I have actually followed the suggestion all my life. Yes… it is plain here and now.”
” No wonder, you are so spiritually qualified, if not actually evolved.”
” You really believe so ?”
” Yes. It’s been, as you said, plain to me … here and now !”
We laughed. The beauty of laughter wiped away her stress and anxiety of moments ago. I felt glad and grateful. The rhythmic rat-a-tattle of the train, cutting through the day, could now be heard, clear and pleasantly normal.
” I was introduced to Truth formally, objectively, as a third or second person. I now find it positioned within myself, pertaining to my very being and to this subjective self. I have a notion it is independent of that too … that I may realise and raise myself free of my own subjective being. Please tell me it is true.”
” It is true. And you will, one day.”
” What should I do now ?”
” Keep to it.”
” And …”
” Be happy among those who are, compassionate with those who aren’t. Be without fear, but not unwisely. Be kind to the miserable, unconcerned with ignorants. And be joyously forthcoming with one who truly knows.”
I turned to another live page of my book of rules.
” Be mindful of all you perceive, within and without. Be aware of everything in your experience. Be giving, not wanting. Never use a word without holding its truth within. And, always … always believe that there is someone looking after you, that you are not alone. “
” Wait … I wish to write that down in my diary.”