To quote Walt Whitman
” I celebrate myself;
and what I assume,
you shall assume
for every atom belonging to me, as good belongs to you.”
Most of us are searching: And for a whole lot of us, the search continues till the very last breath. Some in search of the fleeting ‘Happiness’, some wandering to find their ‘Purpose’ and some like me searching not knowing what they are searching for.
I am not really sure when the quest started but it did very early in my life. I was born into a Hindu Brahmin family to say, but we were the most non-religious lot and neither was anyone particular about imposing any rituals on me. All the Gods names were taken in the same breath and I was as familiar with a Gurudwara and a Church as I was with a Temple. But Churches did have a special place in my heart. I still remember the first one I visited as an 11-year-old. A very old church, a stone throw away from my house with light blue walls and turquoise blue doors and windows. It had a pull for me, I can still remember sitting inside not praying but staring at the altar for hours.
This romance with the churches continued even when I was changing homes and cities across India. Today, when I look back, there is a realization that I was seeking something not understanding what. Reflecting back, I suppose it was the need to connect with the power we call God and I saw Jesus as the one who will show me the way.
The pursuit became even more intent 15 years back; visit to temples and churches had a certain fervor. But Alas! End of the day I was always thirsty like a dehydrated soul.
Then suddenly some years back something hit me. Pain hit me, it hit me with the intensity of a fully loaded truck smashing into my very being. I fell into an abyss, from where I couldn’t find anything to hold onto. My friends, my family, my well-wishers, doctors, no one could help me.
I had heard ‘The wound is the place where the light enters’. And rightly so it did; someone gave me a hand that hand came in form of a book called ‘Heal Your Life’ by Louise L Hay; it was that green branch I caught onto, to pull myself a bit and breathe. Subsequently, another book found its way to me which was ‘Lalitha Sahasranamam’.It was not a book but Devi herself finding me: and did she perform miracles on me? Oh yes! It put me back on track in the journey called life.
Surprisingly, my Quest did not end there. Now, I was hungry like a hungry infant wanting to suckle more and more. I asked more, I sought more and I read more. Eknath Easwaran, Om Swami, Rajneesh, Jaggi Vasudev, Mahatria Ra, Ramana Maharshi, Swami Chinmayanand, Shrimad Bhagwat I devoured them all. They all became my best friends, I was understanding, connecting, finding, and contemplating. All that I read made me look at people, situations, and life in a new light.
Most importantly, I was looking at myself differently, all the while knowing my quest was not done. But now, I was better equipped to understand what I was seeking. It was an ‘Anchor’ if I may use that word. An anchor for me to hold on to and seek solace in.
Life was like peeling off an onion, every layer I peeled, posed a new layer. And no ‘Key’ was rightly fitting into the ‘Lock’ called ‘Me’.
Months went by and I stopped seeking, praying, reading, and contemplating.
And just like that one evening, in a moment of epiphany, it struck me that ‘ I ‘ was the ‘Key’ to the ‘Lock’ called ‘Me’. I needn’t look any further. The answer to the question, the truth to my very being was always sitting right inside me. My search ended with me arriving at my own doorstep.
It also came with the realization that every book I read, every Guru I sought, every holy place I visited, every holy name I uttered be it my Devi, Jesus, and Krishna; they were all leading me to me.
This search, quest, or whatever you may want to call it as is as important as the destination itself; ‘The Journey’ is the reward.
In the simple, yet brilliant book ‘The Alchemist’ written by Paulo Coelho, the protagonist makes a long journey only to realize that his treasure was exactly in the same place from where he started his journey.
We are all seeking, some not knowing what, some not knowing who and some not knowing the how. If only we were to pause, from time to time, to ponder, we shall find. Then again, only at the Right time.
Let me end by quoting Walt Whitman again,
” Henceforth, I ask not good fortune.
I myself, am good fortune,
Henceforth, I whimper no more,
Postpone no more, need nothing.
Strong and content, I travel the open road”
May you find, what you seek.