This is an exclusive excerpt from Ujjwal Khadka’s Gabu’s Ethereal Universe.
Here in this exile, there were people everywhere, people naked and people clad, all exulting in heavenly lure. Grotesque cacophony of mundane ceased to exist in this commune. Gabu found his own sense of individuality succumb to the greater truth. He found absolute sense of comfort or solace in his own soul. And everything was far from being mere rationalization and mere relentless mental muse–mere cortical activity. Something far greater and sacred had been realized. The unknowable had been known through silence. God, he knew, could be worshipped through work and devotion, but still intellectual understanding did play a vital role. Transcendence happens only after absolute understanding, he would now assert, and complete and absolute understanding happens through intellect and reason. Likewise, acknowledgement and proper understanding of Ego or mundane is necessary for their transcendence and transcendence itself was required to realize the state of God realization. He also realized that austerity and physical endurance could be one form of worship but the Absolute could very well be realized by a pain free existence. Gabu also realized that his hunches had been subtle voices of eternity and that enlightenment was more than mere thoughtful beckoning; it was in essence an awakening of dormant forces (and sources) and not mere a form of hypnosis; and in essence something greater than his current state of reality had been realized–something far greater and far more fulfilling. He had found answers to his eternal queries like: Did God create this Universe to escape the drag of a lonely existence? Is God an escapist? The answers received were this: God created this World not to acquire any goal but for the mere sake of envisioning creation in motion. God had no ambitions and aspirations and he didn’t venture out to seek answers. All of the creation, just like his intention simply is this: impermanent, existential and eternally fulfilled. As he was contemplating these ideas, he felt that his beloved had been around, there and then. Out of great excitement he ran to the figure and found himself dumbfounded and mute. Every fiber of his being wished to ask one question: Did–do–you love me? Did you have feelings for me? But, now in this exile owing to the power and grace that he had received as a Yogi, he suddenly realized that the query–such query– was worthless. So, with this thought in mind he didn’t call her. He went back to his cave instead. In meditative silence he realizes that a bitter loss had hit his love Shamu, who had come to visit him to ask him to embrace her but…And in his inner reflection he also envisions his mother pining in solitude and exile, just as his intuition had entrusted in him. But he does not long to meet her. And he does not long to meet up with his Love too, for now he felt that he had been possessed by that one Great Love: love of the Supreme. But…But easier said than done Shamu’s sudden appearance had brought about something else in his life: vexations. His World had turned topsy-turvy. He toiled to quiet his mind and toiling itself turned out to be the problem, an impedance of some sort, an impedance, and a perturbation that marred his prospects of reveling in heavenly Grace. The toiling itself was the impedance–and the impedance itself led to the toiling. Or so he thought. Needless, to say love had eluded him–and so had hunch or God; and now when he thought he had found his peace, this mortal love (and its lure) had showed up, and for what? God–even God–it seemed didn’t want him to exult in an exquisite sense of balance. Or so he thought. Otherwise why would he…….And what was he to do with a love, which seemed just as whimsical and illusory as the thing called life (his life) itself, for their lure only beckoned more bemusement (or at least he thought so), where all one acknowledged is the ephemeral and intangible nature of one’s bliss, where bliss (and life itself) seemed to be made up of stuffs that dreams and fantasies were made up of. What to do with the dream? And what of the fantasies! Thought Gabu. He had wasted a major chunk of his life in such high minded lure, and for what? And even if he had begotten his love what of it? The all pervasive emptiness, the all pervasive need to realize one’s higher self (the ultimate love–the love of all loves) would still pester you, wouldn’t it? Thought Gabu, all the while fighting his bodily urge (the urge of the animal, the urge of the animal called human being) to embrace his mortal love (which he earlier thought would beget his salvation–which he now somehow thought wouldn’t. Such vexation!), and to hold her, kiss her, stoke her beautiful hair and body (yes they were still beautiful) and to tell her how much he adored her, and how he still felt theirs had been a soul–mate type relationship (a continuation of past life’s camaraderie–a sense of camaraderie in love) and how he still…But what of it? What of the love? Thought Gabu. Again–again!
‘Why do you appear so vexed Gabu?’ Swami Binod (a fellow monk) inquired, as he sat down in the woods, in the front part of the Ashram’s gate. But Gabu did not reply. He seemed to be in some kind of a trance and his eyes were facing heavenwards. ‘I am fine’, Gabu replied after few moments of silence. ‘Why, what’s the matter? Are you fine? Aren’t you running temperature? Wait. Let me check.’ Swami Binod touched his forehead. No temperature. He concluded. ‘I am fine.’ Gabu asserted. Then Gabu spoke: Do you believe in God? (He had been asking the same question to virtually everyone he met.) ‘Of course I do. Why do you ask? Don’t you?’ A perturbed Binod, a perturbed Swami Binod hurled the ball right back in Gabu’s court. ‘I don’t know. Until yesterday I did, but now I have bowed out of that notion. Somewhat! What do you think should be the basic essence of god? ‘Basic Essence! How do you mean?’ Swami Binod asked. ‘I mean, what is god’s basic nature? Benevolent! Malevolent? Perturbed? Shouldn’t (isn’t he supposed to be) he be former? And if he is anything but good, why does he create evil (and vexations) in the World? Gabu replied, which caused him to ponder for a while, after which Swami Binod spoke: I am not sure. I think perhaps–only perhaps– there is order (and meaning) in chaos too. Maybe the chaos was there to inspire you (and me). Maybe there is order in the Universe and maybe –only maybe– the Universe is in perfect order. Maybe god is immaculately perfect in his calculations and deductions. And that is what restores balance and order in the Universe. There is order in chaos too. Perhaps the occasional mishaps are positive (and conducive even) to restoring the order of the Universe. Maybe Brahma is wise enough in compelling us to suffer? And maybe there is wisdom in suffering too. And hey, above all, what I truly believe is this: Man is a journey from animal to God, and the animal has to pass through a series of tests (in the form of penance) before he can embark upon that sense of Godhood. And maybe that itself is the great goal of all lives on Earth. And hence the suffering becomes just as natural and just as inevitable, and just as conducive–conducive to one’s ascension in spirit.’ Swami Binod blurted these words, drew a deep breath and instantly his face bore a peculiar gaze of relaxedness. It appeared as if he had just released tons of loads off of his back–a rather non conducive and unwanted load. A long pause ensued. Then Gabu spoke: Hmm! Interesting! Well! Let me tell you, I think that way too. But… only sometimes! Not always. To add torments, until recently I believed in everything and now I am skeptic of everything. Then they parted ways with Swami Binod appearing even more relaxed and Gabu even more petrified.
That day (well! that night) Gabu took refuge in a hut close to where his beloved Shamu stayed–he had learned that his love interest would take an exit the following day after resting for the night. Temperature unfortunately dropped suddenly that night. And it had been a moon lit night. Gabu watched Shamu from his hut. Oh! Shamu! An epitome of beauty and grace! Thought Gabu. O! She had been such a great lure, Worldly yes, but a compelling lure all the same. O! I could have had such a life with her, if only…And he got embarrassed at his own thoughts, the thoughts in which lay perched mundane feelings, the feelings of a mortal. This hadn’t been in accord to his current state of reality. And what was his current state of reality? Nobody could tell. One could only imagine that he meant his current state of embarkation of other Worldly grace, yet amid all this he glanced at her beautiful face and beamed, and instantly became sure of a bemusing state of reality (his current reality): he could not embrace or accept her. And she could not embrace him for he appeared so distant (or he had turned himself so), so engrossed in his other Worldly lure. The effrontery of his spiritual exuberance had convinced her of that. Perhaps…Now Gabu wished to steam off his penance, a penance fostered by the “spiritual Universe fable”, by indulging in a mortal fantasy. But could he actually do that? Nobody had the answer; for he had now turned more vexed than he had ever been in his mortal life. The high minded hermit had succumbed to lure of the flesh. Or so he believed. The spirit junkie, the wannabe God was feeling compelled to abandon his spiritual journey in lieu of his mortal pursuits. What vexation!
Text and image provided by Ujjwal Khadka