A loud roar stopped me from going inside.
“Singh Raj” I exclaimed. Strong, compact body and powerful forelegs, teeth, and jaws for pulling down and killing anyone who dares to enter the premises without her will. Yellow-gold coat with a huge reddish-brown shaggy mane, Singhraj looked mighty.
I joined my hands in the mode of namaskar and he nodded in compliance.
“I wish to have an audience with her. I know this is not the appropriate time to meet her but I have no other option Singharaj. She is free only during this time. Her court is always full of devotees day and night and I can only spend time with her when she is all by herself. But if you still insist, I will leave. I do understand, she also needs time to spend in solace.”
I bowed down to him again and started to return back. As soon as I took a step, a voice from the cave stopped me.
” From when does a son require permission to meet his Mata!”
Her appearance was preceded by the sound of her anklets that echoed throughout the cave creating a soothing ambiance. Ever youthful and fragrant as a lotus, her pupils seemed like fishes in still lake. Skin like the melting snow and her gracious smile that always adorned her lips reminded me of her nurturance. She was wearing no ornaments except the gold earrings, anklets, bangles, chain, and a simple maang tika but I couldn’t deny the grandeur of divinity that emanated from her entire body.
She said,” Singharaj, you don’t know him because he never came here before but know this. Like thousands of children that I have, he is also my child, and no matter what time it is, I am always available for my children. From this moment, you won’t stop him from entering. Whenever he comes, you will allow him.”
Singharaj bowed down to her and then left.
I prostrated on to her feet and she took me up and hugged me warmly. Tears came oozing out of her eyes as she was filled with great joy. I removed the tears from her cheek and said,” How have you been Mata? Did you miss me? You have so many children who daily come to visit you with ardent faith and devotion whereas I have never been here in person. I am sure that your children have never given you the chance to miss me, to think about me.”
With her penetrating gaze and gracious smile, she replied holding her palms onto my chin,” No matter how many children a mother has, she loves all her children equally and thinks about them all the time. It is a fact that you have never been here in person but you will and that time will come shortly. But look at you now, finding words to tease your mother, you have grown up.”
I replied with a grin,” No mata. No matter how much a child grows, he/she will always be a child to their mother and I am still a child, your child.” I took hold of her hands gently, I said,” You know Mata, I am very selfish. I only come to you when I need you. And today this selfish son of yours has come because he knows that no one can understand him better than his own Matarani.”
She smiled and said,” You don’t have to complain about my son. I know very well how he is. But before we start, this son has to eat first with his mata’s hands.” As soon as she said, she opened her palms and summoned her Akshayapatra. “Kheer Puri,” she said and the divine pot was filled with it. she took one morsel and fed it to me and I reciprocated to her by doing the same.
” Son, I very well know that you are undergoing significant changes. As the one inside you is awakening from the deep slumber, you are experiencing confusion and dilemmas which are an indispensable part of one’s journey. Everyone who has set out for such a path has to experience it. Even your very own Matarani has also experienced it.”
She took another morsel and as soon as she approached me, I stopped her hand,” Mata, you too! Then you very well know what I am going through. But I am feeling confused about how to take the right decision that benefits everyone? I wonder if I can even make the right one?”
Seeing me disappointed, she replied, ” Decisions are never right or wrong. Any decision you take can have good and bad consequences. If you are ready to accept the consequences, it will turn out to be a good decision. And we have always made you aware to accept it. And I am sure whatever decision you make, will be neither right nor wrong, neither good nor bad but an appropriate one. ”
With a smile on her ever-blooming face, she added,” That time will come when you have to take on your duties and do things you never imagined possible. But for now, hold onto the string of surrender and flow with the wave of devotion.”
” But Mata, what will my duties be? Can you define them for me?”
” You can’t define your duties, son. You can recognize your duties when they call you. The call comes from deep inside you. It may go against definitions set by your mind. That is why it is important, you don’ try to define your life nor the experiences because defining them narrows them down to your intellect which is insulting life itself.”
“But Matarani, how do I know that I have experienced the ultimate truth of life? When I see enlightened beings, they all have different perspectives on life, different principles, and modes of conduct. In such an ambiance of multi-alignment, how do I know which path to follow or that I should create a path of my own?”
She looked at me for some time, keeping her smile intact. The snowfall had started and it was getting cold outside so she invited me to her cave. The cave was narrow so I had to go inside crawling and crouching. After some time, I reached the place where the three small lumps were established in its entire exuberance. I prostrated and then she said,” My devotees come here to seek our blessings but this is not the place where we will be staying.”
“Then where are we going, Mata?”
“There is another cave adjacent to this one. Its location kept secret and will reveal when the time comes but for now, come this way.”
The passage was dark and I couldn’t see anything. She held my hand and guided me into the cave. The cave was pitch dark but she with her divine light illuminated it. As the cave was illuminated, I could see, the walls of the cave were formed of various windows. Windows of different shapes, sizes, carvings. Interestingly, each window had a lock that could only be opened by a key of a particular shape.
“Welcome to the cave of windows.” She said.
“But Matarani, why here? And what does it have to do with my question?”I asked, confused.
” Son, have patience. You will soon understand.”
She pointed towards a particular window and said,” Son, what do you see there?”
I looked at the window. The window was in the shape of Shri Hari which had a unique lock. I said,” Shri Bhagwan, Mata.”
She smiled and said,” Do you see the lock there? The lock can only be opened by those who have melted their consciousness into the way of Shri Bhagwan and have known him by essence. Try for yourself.”
I obliged and invoked the essence of Shri Hari in me and touched the lock. Surprisingly, my index finger transformed into the key, and the window was unlocked.
She said,” Have a view from the window now.”
I took a view and it was mesmerizing. Valleys filled with lush greenery and beautiful icescapes. The cold breeze touched my inner being with the fragrance of divinity and I was enchanted. As I was enjoying the scenic beauty from the window, she called me again. I came back to the very place and she again pointed her finger towards the opposite direction from the first one.
“What do you see again?” She asked.
“The window representing Ashutosh,” I said.
“You know what to do.” She replied, smiling.
I obliged and invoked the essence of Ashutosh and the window opened. I took a view and was shocked a little. Cremation grounds with pyres burning and the gust of ashes blowing all over the place. Some of the ash flew and was smeared on my face. I took the holy vibhuti and came back again to my spot. She again pointed me to another window and I observed that it resembled the form of Shakti herself. I again did the same and the window opened. As I took a view, I could see dense forests everywhere with noises of various creatures that echoed all around. Nature in its full exuberance and prosperity. I gain came back and she did the same, pointing me towards another one. This time, the window resembled Lord Adityanarayan. I opened it and was stunned. The planets were revolving, the meteorites clashing, the sun engulfing various planets, the entire solar system being engulfed by the black hole. It was as if I was witnessing the entire mechanics of the creation itself. She called me back and pointed me towards another window. This time, the window was in the shape of Vinayaka himself. I opened it and saw the rising of civilizations. Progress, inventions, discoveries, and auspiciousness everywhere. She again called me back.
She said,” How were the views?”
” Each view was very different from the other. One showed me the beauty of life while the other acquainted me with its harsh reality. One showed me its exuberance while the other revealed its very mechanics.”
“And the last one?” She asked, smiling gently.
” The last one showed the possible outcome of raising one’s inner consciousness and intellect.”
“Sadhu, my son, sadhu. Now, tell me, son. Which view is THE VIEW?”
“No one and everyone. Each window showed me different facets of life. Different dimensions and perceptions to experience life in its fullest possibility.”
She replied, “True. See, those small windows carved out of the big windows that you opened. Tell me what could you have seen if you have opened one of those from either of those 5 windows?”
“It would have given me a detailed view of a particular aspect of life. What we call in earthly nuances a sort of ‘specialization’.”
She said,” Now tell me again son, which window is better than the other one?”
I replied, smiling,” No one, Mata. For me, each window has let me experience a different dimension of life which are all equally important for my holistic development as a being. But for some, a window can be more preferable to the other because he/she has a particular taste or preference for a particular shape, size, carving, and view.”
She again said,” Does it mean the other windows are inferior or their views, less important?”
“No mata. If I think that one window is superior to the other only because the one I chose, has shape and views that match my personality. It is nothing but my sheer ignorance. It means that I know actually nothing about life.”
A grin appeared on her face and she said,” Did you get your answer now?”
I replied with affirmation and looked down.
She said,” You still have a question. Ask.”
” Mata. If all that matters is the view then why many beings who worship you all, could not even manage to have a single peek from any of the windows?”
She pinched my cheeks softly and replied smiling,” Because son, to have a view into the source of creation, they have to unlock the window first and to do that, they have to mold their consciousness into the shape of the key but with maximum beings, what happens is, they approach one window, thinking of the view that the window can provide. They start appreciating its features, its delicate intricacies, and carvings. Slowly, their consciousness starts to melt but when someone, who has approached a different window comes to the former and starts praising their own taste. The former one either gets convinced that the view from the other window could be more beautiful than his or that the other window is not that great and only his window is the best. In both the above cases, his consciousness either starts to shape again to suit the other window or it becomes rigid. Either way, he came back further from taking a view, from realizing the truth of life.”
” So what you are suggesting is that each one should take one window and try to unlock it first instead of approaching different windows at the same time.”
“Yes, son. When they approach one window, they should devote themselves completely to the one in order, so that their consciousness can mold itself into the key that will open it without having a judgment that which window is better because as soon as they make a judgment, their consciousness turns rigid and they won’t be able to open it, no matter, how hard they try. As they open it, they will be able to have a view of the source of creation. ”
“But Mata, I could open all the windows when I still have a preference. I approach you more often than the others. How could this be possible?”
She replied,” Tell me, son. How will you feel when someone is praising me and demeaning Shri Hari or Ashutosh or the other ones?”
” I would be delighted that the one is praising you but also be deeply hurt that the being hasn’t understood you all at all. Because you are all but one for me. Different manifestations of the same Divine energy.”
She replied smilingly,” You answered your own question. When the being who has taken a view from one window goes inside the window. He/She realizes that all the windows lead to the same truth of existence, no matter, how they look like. The being then realizes that those are just WINDOWS and what matters is the VIEW, not the WINDOW.”
“But what about devotees, Mata?’
“They are a special case, son. They are so enchanted by the window itself that they are neither bothered with the view nor its place. They just want to live their lives admiring and praising the window but what happens is, in the process, they dissolve themselves completely in the window and become the window itself for thousands of others who follow after. Now, for you, just try to invoke all of us at the same time.”
I did as she insisted and invoke the essence of all of them at the same time.
” What do you feel son?”
“Mata, I feel, I feel……..” I could not speak anything. It felt words no longer hold any meaning or significance. What mattered the most was nothing but silence, stillness.
“She smiled and said,” Now have a look around”.
I looked around and was stunned. There was literally nothing. I was standing in an empty place, having nothing. and everything. And only she was in front, smiling.
“Don’t try to express anything, son.’ She said. “Only experience it. What you are experiencing son is the zenith of every spiritual being. You are in Nirgunasthan, the place with no qualities. The material nature is mainly governed by 3 Gunas namely Satva, Rajas, and Tamas, or the mode of goodness, passion, and ignorance. Due to the governance of the 3 gunas, the human mind attributes quality to everything around it so that they can derive some sense out of it. During the process, they misinterpret the truth in accordance with their level of intellect and quality of perception and memory that they gathered from their past experiences. This, in turn, results in the creation of Maya, or illusion or if we say in your words, ‘subjective or measured reality’. Because in reality, everything is free of quality, is nirguna, and to realize and imbibe it, is the zenith in any spiritual practice or devotional service. From Sakar Brahma to Nirakar Brahma, lies the journey of every being and only a few can traverse it.”
As she said, I fell and was falling until I opened my eyes and found myself outside of the cave. The snowfall had stopped and the ground was covered with white snow. Mata was standing with her smile, as usual. I stood up and looked all around. It was morning already and devotees had started coming for darshan.
” I will leave now but before I leave, I want you to have this as the remainder of today’s meeting.”
She collected a lump of snow from the ground and gave it to me. I collected it in my palms and she disappeared. As I turned back to return, I could see an elegant rainbow had appeared on the sky and the snow in my palms seemed to be at its center. Realising, I smiled with amusement and said,” Only Vishnumaya can explain such intricacies of life in such an amusing and lucid manner. You are great, Devi.”
As I finished saying, a huge roar followed shaking everything around me. All I could do was nothing but smile.