Vast Sky of Re­al­i­sa­tion

The Economic Times - - The Edit Page -

Agull hap­pily fly­ing with a morsel in its mouth, sud­denly no­ticed that it was be­ing chased by 10 other gulls. They started ha­rass­ing and peck­ing it. Fright­ened, the gull dodged, flew faster, and tried ev­ery move to de­fend it­self from this bru­tal on­slaught. Af­ter some time, the bird felt ex­hausted, both phys­i­cally and men­tally. Sud­denly, it dawned on the gull that the en­tire flock of birds was af­ter that morsel.

So, it just let it go. At once, the en­tire flock changed its di­rec­tion and went for the morsel, leav­ing the gull alone. The gull smiled and said, “I let go of that small piece of food and look what I at­tained — the vast sky!” This story, adapted from Sri­mad-Bha­ga­vatam, helps us un­der­stand a per­son’s bondage with mis­ery and, al­ter­na­tively, with lib­er­a­tion and peace, es­pe­cially as ex­pounded in the phi­los­o­phy of Kash­mir Shaivism.

Most of one’s life is spent in jeal­ously guard­ing what one has and striv­ing to ac­quire what one doesn’t. This cling­ing to what the in­di­vid­ual thinks of as ‘mine’ is termed in Shiva Su­tras as ‘mayiya mala’. Mala means ‘im­pu­rity’, so ‘mayiya mala’ refers to the no­tion ‘mine’ that veils the ex­pe­ri­ence of one’s true na­ture as peace, as bound­less as Shiva, the Divine.

But why does one cling to pos­ses­sions and peo­ple? Shiva Su­tras ex­plains that the cause is ‘anava mala’. ‘Anu’ means an ‘atom’, so con­sid­er­ing one­self to be small, limited is termed ‘anava mala’ at the feel­ing-level. The vis­ceral no­tion ‘I am in­com­plete’ leads to the imag­i­nary bound­aries of ‘mine’ and ‘not mine’. This, in­deed, is the source of all strife in our lives.

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