The latest assignment given Medha ji in her writing is to describe the color yellow to a blind man. It is very challenging, but I am always up for a challenge. It makes life worth living,
How do we explain color to a blind man? I think the problem is exactly the same as explaining God to an ordinary human being like me. We cannot see God, just as the blind man cannot see color, because of the limitations of our senses. Yet, we can try to experience the presence of God.
How can an ordinary man like me, who is not self-realized like Om Swami ji, do this? How do I go about even getting close to that experience? I can only do it through my senses and my mind.
What is the most pleasant thing my eyes can see? That is the experience of God through my vision, for me. It could be a beautiful landscape with tall snow-capped mountain peaks in the distance at the time of sunrise. It could be a beautiful ashram nestling in the Himalayas with a river flowing below it. It could be perfection in a human form. Wherever we see real beauty, we see the visual essence of God.
What is the most pleasant thing I can hear? It could be the beautiful raga malkauns, using many soft notes to create a magical experience. Think of the wonderful song “Man tadpat hari darshan ko, aaj.”
It could be a wonderful song in the raga bhairava, again using soft notes to create a spiritual experience. Just think of the song “More Allah Meherbaan” by Pandit Jasaraja, in this morning raga.
Think of the beautiful notes of the simplest of all songs “Amazing Grace”, often sung without any musical instruments. These notes bring us very close to God. Think of all the wonderful songs in western classical music, the great compositions of Beethoven and Mozart. Think of the song “The Sound of Silence”. All of this music makes us experience God in at least a small way. Think of beautiful mantras and think of the simplest of all mantras, the sound of Om. Whenever we hear beautiful sounds, we experience the audible essence of God.
What is the best thing I have ever tasted? It could be the perfect dosa, or the perfect idli sambhar or just a sip of perfect coffee early in the morning. It could be a glass of chilled mango lassi on a hot summer day. It could even be a simple dish of rice, lentils and yoghurt with a hint of spices and a ghee on top. Whenever we taste wonderful things, we experience some of the essence of God.
What is the best aroma I have ever experienced? It could be the smell of jasmine flowers during a morning walk or the gentle aroma arising from a pizza place in the neighborhood. It could be the scent of perfume emanating from a passer- by. Whenever we experience beautiful aromas, we experience a little of the essence of God.
What is the best thing I have ever touched? It could be the warm body of my new-born child or of the mother who produced this child. It could be the soft touch of a warm blanket in the middle of winter. It could be the touch of a gentle breeze carrying the scent of the approaching monsoons, after a long, hot summer. Whenever we experience the touch of something beautiful, we experience a little of the essence of God.
If we combine all these sensory experiences, we can perceive a small fraction of what God really is. To this, we can add our mind and see a bit more of the total picture. We can use other people’s minds, too, and read what others have written or said about the experience of God. For some, God is love, for others, it is nirvana, or the cessation of everything. For some, it is Advaita, or non-duality. Yet others have written that God is what existed before we were born, and what will continue to exist long after we are gone.
Combine all of these inputs and we can form some kind of a picture of what God is really like.
We can explain the color yellow to a blind man in exactly the same way. Give him a mango, preferably a Dussehri from Lucknow, and let him experience the mango with all his senses. Let him touch it, feel it, smell it, taste it and even hear it when he squeezes it. Let him imagine what it looks like.
Whatever he imagines is the color yellow.