The Story Of An En­light­ened Crow

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - An Ecstasy Of Ideas - Mukul Shri Goel

Be­fore trans­form­ing into an en­light­ened and di­vine crow, Kak Bhusundi had spent nu­mer­ous past lives in dis­tress, ac­cord­ing to the Ra­machari­ta­manasa. In one of his pre­vi­ous lives, Bhusundi had de­vel­oped ar­ro­gance in his dis­po­si­tion and had, at times, in­sulted Vishnu and his own spir­i­tual guru, ac­cu­mu­lat­ing bad karma. By the grace of his guru – and Shiva, who cursed him with many re­births so that Bhusundi could re­alise his mis­takes and also gave him a boon that min­imised the sor­row in­volved in ev­ery re­birth – Bhusundi changed his way of think­ing and selected the path of de­vo­tional love over mis­deed.

Bhusundi had turned to spir­i­tual prac­tice after con­tem­plat­ing on his faults. He had cou­pled pa­tience and per­se­ver­ance with God re­mem­brance, med­i­ta­tion and guid­ance from his men­tors. It is be­lieved that dur­ing the course of his spir­i­tual

evo­lu­tion, Bhusundi had to un­dergo re­birth nu­mer­ous times. His dif­fi­cult life ex­pe­ri­ences re­flect the fact that our ini­tial ex­pe­ri­ences on the path of spir­i­tu­al­ity may not be easy. Even in sce­nar­ios where God’s grace may re­duce the amount of karmic cleans­ing re­quired, one may still have to face some suf­fer­ing.

Bhusundi’s story re­veals that of­ten, our im­per­fec­tions are for­given in spir­i­tual prac­tice. Though Bhusundi had been de­voted to the Di­vine, in the be­gin­ning, his de­vo­tion had been bound with ha­tred for selected per­sons. In spite of his ini­tial short­com­ings, his chant­ing of Ra­manama, the name of Rama, had trans­formed him into a di­vine be­ing through bhakti yoga – he had be­come an en­light­ened crow.

From our lim­ited un­der­stand­ing of Kak Bhusundi’s – kak means crow – spir­i­tual evo­lu­tion, we can say that Bhusundi was for­given by Rama. We can also say that Bhusundi reached a spir­i­tual plane where for­give­ness was not nec­es­sary. In fact, he had tran­scended virtues. Rama had blessed him with so much spir­i­tual and philo­soph­i­cal pro­fi­ciency that he not only be­came one of the first preach­ers of the Ra­mayana but also be­came the spir­i­tual guru for Garuda, Vishnu’s ve­hi­cle, and many peo­ple, too. More­over, Bhusundi had been blessed with im­mor­tal­ity and everlastin­g de­vo­tion for Rama.

Bhusundi’s meet­ing with a spir­i­tual guru may be seen as a com­bined act of grace by Rama and Shiva, who are both Di­vine. Bhakti may make us el­i­gi­ble for kripa, God’s grace. Al­ter­na­tively, bhakti may, at times, be a re­sult of grace from guru or God. Spir­i­tual guid­ance gleaned from dis­courses by saints, com­pre­hen­sion of scrip­tures, and our learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ences in places of wor­ship – all have el­e­ments of di­vine grace em­bed­ded within them.

For spir­i­tual as­pi­rants, Bhusundi’s re­mark­able story re­flects the im­por­tance of re­al­is­ing our own mis­takes in life and the beneficial ef­fects that chant­ing and God re­mem­brance can have on our dis­po­si­tion. Seek­ing Di­vine for­give­ness, like prayer, is sattvic karma; it may nul­lify many of our bad kar­mas from the past. More­over, re­pen­tance has the po­ten­tial to con­nect us to the Supreme power.

By the time we gain God-re­al­i­sa­tion, all malev­o­lence and karmic neg­a­tiv­i­ties are ex­pected to cease. In due course, we get trans­ported from good­ness to be­yond good­ness. Our re­mem­brance of God elim­i­nates all neg­a­tive thought pro­cesses that may have cre­ated a ma­jor sep­a­ra­tion be­tween our soul and God. This is where the karmic cy­cle breaks and we recog­nise our own divin­ity. Fi­nally, we gain per­ma­nent prox­im­ity to God, ful­fill­ing the aim of de­vo­tional spir­i­tu­al­ity.

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