A young boy lived in a small village nestled between the mountains. He lived alone in a small hut like all the other boys and girls in this village. Every day he would wake up precisely at sunrise exactly at the crow of a rooster. He would go out worship the sun god with a small “stuti”. All the children in the village participated in the same ritual at precisely the same time.

He would then walk to the river at the border of his house with the other children and take a dip into the river. He would walk home and cook himself a simple meal from the crops they grew in the fields. Then, he would go to the fields to sow, till, harvest, and compost the waste. It was a challenging but good life. It was a life that everyone enjoyed, but this boy was a little different.

While everyone around him laughed and played and sang songs at the glory of the sun, he felt he was different. His heart was heavy, seemed to have ridges and cracks, and oddly shaped. Everyone else’s heart seemed whole, like a perfectly shaped tomato, but his heart seemed to be like a bitter gourd.

He had this feeling for a few years now, growing more intense every day. He tried to overcome it by working harder, praying more fervently, and following all the rules even more carefully, but that feeling never disappeared. Today, as he lay in the field, gazing at the sun, a tear rolled down his cheek.

“Why,” he asked as he sobbed gently. “Why is it when everyone prays to you, they feel fulfilled and complete. They say you talk to them. Their hearts seem healthy and full while mine is shriveled and rough; why am I so different”.

As we glared at the sun through his tears, a small ray of light entered through a tear and split into several colors. They seeped into his heart, and a small voice spoke from within him. “Perhaps what you seek is not the sun. Why don’t you come out a night and look for me”?

The boy jumped out the bale of hay he had been resting on. He wiped his tears and gazed back at the sun. Where did this voice come from? How could something else speak from within him? He shrugged off all these questions and went back to work. The rhythmic movement helped bury his restlessness, and he lost himself in the flow of work.

He dropped his tools and hurried home with all the other children. They nodded to each other, went inside their houses, bolted their doors, and drew up the curtains. It was evening, and the sun would set in an hour. Twilight and night were dangerous times. There were legends of worshippers of the night and how it had almost destroyed their world. Every evening they would draw up their curtains, cook with small fires within their houses, and go to sleep. How could one see the sky that did not have the sun? It was blasphemy.

Today, the boy could not sleep. The voice in his head kept reminding him to seek him out at night. He lay in his bed tossing and turning, deciding if he could risk it. The cracks in his heart were going wider every day. Anything was better than walking with a flawed heart. This thought gave him courage. He opened the curtains and peeked outside. The sky was stormy and dark. The clouds rolled around and almost seemed to touch his face. His heart pounded as he felt the clouds would snatch him away. “Steady, have courage,” said the voice. He took deep breaths and kept looking. Tears flowed down his cheeks again as his eyes stared into the horizon, trying to bore holes through the cloud. Suddenly a streak of small silver light darted like an arrow through the clouds and pierced his heart. He braced himself for the pain and the agony. However, a slight tingling sensation seeped through his body. He could feel a small crack in his heart fill up with the silver light, and it felt whole. It felt complete. He stared harder at the sky, but nothing else happened. An hour later, tired, he closed the curtain and fell asleep.

The following day, he woke up to the rooster’s crow, worshipped the sun god, and reached the fields. His heart felt lighter, his hands worked faster, and he felt happier than he had ever before. As he lay for his afternoon siesta, he gathered his courage and asked the sun, “Who was it? Who is she”.

The voice in his head replied. “It is she”. “She is Sri”.

But who is “Sri,” he asked, but there was no reply.

“How do I find her” he begged? “She completes me.” “I love you, but she completes me”. “Please tell me”, he sobbed.

“Tonight, get out into your garden and sing for her with all your heart. She is very shy. If it pleases her, she will come”. The voice went silent.

Tonight, he waited for everyone to sleep and walked right out to the garden. He gazed up into the sky and sang. There was no doubt and no fear.

Oh Sri, my dear mother

My sun father said you would come

To come and heal the broken heart

Of this unfortunate little one

He sang it a few times with increasing intensity, and the gentle flow of tears became a torrential outpour.

The clouds parted a little, and as he gazed up, he saw a quarter of a face. It was divine. A single eye, so beautiful that it took his breath away. An olive-shaped side of a face and partial red lustrous lips.

As the face revealed itself, he felt the crevices of his heart fill up with silvery light. He felt so light that his feet almost lifted off the ground. He felt encouraged by this, so he spontaneously chanted another poem.

Shy and beautiful like the moon, she seeks to hide behind the clouds.

The sun seeks her out anyway and drives away the clouds of doubt.

Some soak in the divine light of the sun while I gaze at her soothing face.

His heart fluttered madly as the clouds parted a little more, and he could see almost three-quarters of her face. Her eyes were oceans of kindness, and her lips formed a sad smile. She still seemed very hesitant. A little unsure. He sensed that she was entirely unused for such attention from mortals, for she had hidden for eons.

“How are you, little one,” she asked?

He stuttered for an answer. His sun father was so far away, so bright, so distant. The moon mother was so gentle, so beautiful, and so soft. “I am broken, mother. Incomplete and completely lost.”

“Not anymore, my child”, she whispered. “Your mother is here. Come down again tomorrow, and I will talk to you”. A single beam of moonlight entered his heart, and a dazzling light filled up his whole body. When he opened his eyes, she was gone.

He was there again the following evening. He started singing for her again.

Oh Sri, my dear mother

My sun father said you would come

To come and heal the broken heart

Of this unfortunate little one

This time the clouds parted, and he saw a figure descend into his garden. He tried to gaze at her feet first, but the mother did not like it. “Look at me, my child,” she said. He gazed upon her ethereal face. There was a timeless quality about her. She also had a gentle sadness about her. She has almond-shaped eyes, her perfect nose had a small ruby ring, and her long tapering fingers were unadorned.

“Where were you all this time, Ma” he whispered? “Why did you abandon me”? It may have seemed like a strange question to ask someone, but within his heart, he knew the moon mother was eternal.

Let me tell you a story, my child, said the mother. Her voice was soft like gentle waves running up the shore.

“Many thousands of centuries ago, this earth was a much bigger place. Your sun father and I presided over it. We both shone in the sky and also walked the planet and freely mingled among people. Those were innocent times. The human race had just begun, and we taught them everything. As they became bigger, stronger, and bolder, their natural intelligence darkened. Men started coveting me. Women started being jealous of me. I sensed this and reduced my presence on this planet. I would only come out for a few hours. Even that did not work. Men started fighting wars to win my favor, and women spread false stories about me. Your Sun father still loved his children, and so did I. Hence, I disappeared for most nights of the year. But even on the few nights that I did come out, I saw that people could no longer handle my presence. My children had lost their innocence, and instead of looking at their own nature, they blamed me. I was too beautiful. I waylaid people. I was a temptress. I was special because the sun father favored me.”

As the mother said this, a veil of sadness enveloped her. The clouds were covering her up, and he felt he would lose her.

So he sang out again.

Shy like a peony flower

Gentle like the moon

A single word from her divine lips

Makes this little child swoon

The clouds lifted, and she smiled again. “Your poems come from your heart, my child.” Let me continue my story.

“When I stopped coming out every night, they pined for me and gradually forgot me. However, my memory still remained deep within them. Since they could not find me, they started targeting all feminine. So many of my children suffered that the sun father got upset and withdrew from the world. The world almost ended, and I begged the sun father to come back. He did not relent for a long while. He finally agreed, and you, my dear child, are a few of my children who survive and the first one who remembered me in centuries.”

His tears flowed silently as his mother talked to him. All he thought about was his pain, but here was his mother who suffered for every child she lost, and yet she radiated love.

“I am sorry, mother”, he wept. “I am sorry for all my race for how we treated you.” As he uttered these words, something changed deep within him. His heart was changing. It was smooth and complete. When he closed his eyes and looked deep within, he saw a small silver image of the mother within his heart.

“My sweet little one. This is my gift to you. The first child who came looking for me. I will live always live within your heart”.

The sky turned orange, and the sky mother kissed his forehead and departed. He went inside and sat with his legs folded and eyes closed. His forehead throbbed, and a voice came within his head.

“Your job is not yet over, child. Other children are waiting for her. She is still very cautious. They hurt her very badly. However, this world needs her for it to prosper. Without her, this world will always be incomplete. So talk to her. Keep her happy. Don’t hold on to her or be worried about sharing her with others. The more you share, the brighter she will glow within you.”

The boy got up. His eyes brimmed with tears. When he closed his eyes again, he saw both his father and mother within his heart. He was finally complete. A sang as he went to work, and every single living thing around him strained to hear his voice. It was the first time someone was singing after hundreds of years.

If you cannot realize Sri, then you can never realize Hari.

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