I’d just had my breakfast. Hot idlis with chutni and a steaming cup of coffee. Sipping on the last drops of coffee, I was lost in thought ruminating on Swamiji’s most recent discourse of Siddhi ka doosra sthamb. Some loud calls from outside jabbed into my thoughts. I brushed it aside and resumed my train of thought. A few moments later, my reverie got busted again. This time feet shuffling outside in the corridor, sounds of people hoisting something, hollering to each other.

I went out and saw a number of people, right outside my flat, holding tall poles, yelling at one another, asking to adjust this way, that way and so on. Utterly confused, I asked the guard what the commotion was all about. “Neighbour’s Billi madam”, came the reply. Even more puzzled, I looked up where he pointed. There it was, a frightened adult ginger cat, atop a silver oak tree in the neighbour’s yard. Now, there’s a sprawling bunglow next door with ample trees and landscaped gardens. Apparently their dog had chased their cat and it ran up a tree and was hanging up there for the last 2 days. Who knew! It was barely visible, since the trees are nearly 5 stories tall.

The rescue department was called to fetch it down. The officials shook the tree, tried to prod it with poles, made a catchment below with nets so it would’nt get hurt. The cat wouldn’t budge. Oh wait, let’s call out to it lovingly, in every language and using every endearment I can think of. No, the cat wouldn’t budge. How about a cat-specific stotram or maybe activate some divine siddhi to communicate with the Feline? Even my own brain rejected that idea. Which stotram speaks to cats, Brain? Then I tried to imagine how Om Swami would handle the situation. Maybe He would simply close his eyes and it would climb down fearlessly from the tree and prostrate before Swamiji. Oh, my brain was firing in all directions. But, no Sir. The cat would’nt budge.

A brave officer decided to climb up a super tall ladder and prodded him. The Ginger just moved from one branch to another. Then he tried to axe the branch it was sitting on. The branch got stuck in its other branches and the cat was still on top. At this point, it started looking for a way out. On one side was a wall (the kind that people stick glass pieces on to prevent trespassers), on the other side was a small crowd of humans holding nets. I wonder what was going on in the Ginger’s head. This went on for a good 2 hours, before the tree was shaken so badly that it had to fall down. It cut itself on the hind leg on the glass shards, but still managed to escape alive and disappeared within seconds.

Good gosh, what a stupid creature! How many humans does it take to get a feline down from a tree? Can’t it understand we love it and are doing everything possible to save it from starvation and to protect it from the dog?

Now now, hold on Brain. Somehow, are’nt we that cat sometimes? Sitting up a tree, holding on to a thin branch, loaded with fear that we don’t know if loved ones are helping or harming us, wondering how the heck I got myself into this place, wondering how to get out with even a shred of self respect left, prepared to starve, but not face the problem? Stuck deciding where to jump – on a wall that has glass shards or on a net that is held by strangers? And what if I fall somewhere in between?

Well, somewhere between the analysis and paralysis, is when the Masters call for a leap of faith. Trust them that have already sat on hot coals, swum in deep sea abyss, walked through thickets, with inner monsters and outer maniacs , towards a self-awareness of self-limiting patterns. Towards a belief that the Universe really wants each one happy. Towards a true Guru who shows us how.

My heartfelt Stutis to the live and pulsating Guru Mandal, that is forever active and ready to help anyone stuck up in the bewildering branches of Maya.
Sri Gurubhyo Namaha. Sri Matre Namaha.

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