One of my disciples Nagamani came to India on a two month vacation. She recently visited me and while leaving for Vijayawada in the evening, she expressed her wish to go to Jillellamudi with me. I consented to her proposal and said that we could go in the near future.
I called Charan on Monday evening and told him that we would be going to Jillellamudi the next morning and asked him to bring his car. He agreed and said that he would be at our house by 8 a.m. Soon after talking to Charan, I called Nagamani and informed her. She too confirmed that she would be in Guntur before 8 a.m.
Yesterday morning at 7:30 a.m., I called Ram Murthy and asked him to come to my house in half an hour and told him that we were going to Jillellamudi. He lives in Perecherla. He does not think twice when I say something, so he agreed at once and said that he’d be at our house in half an hour. Though we have known each other only for a short time, he has grown very fond of me.
As planned, all three of them showed up at our house before 8 a.m. Ram Murthy was about to go for shower when I called, but since I had called, he came straight to our house after shower without even performing his daily puja and having his breakfast. I introduced both of them to Charan, who had already arrived by then. We all had upma for our breakfast (made with millets brought by Venkata Raju garu) prepared by my wife and started to Jillellamudi, with Mother in our thoughts.
Our car headed towards Jillellamudi from Guntur on Pedanandipadu road. Everyone was silent for a long time. Then breaking the silence, Charan asked if there was any mention of the nature of incarnations in the Vedas? I paused for a moment and replied, ‘No’. He said that he knew my answer would be in the negative. And also that he had a counter question ready for me, had I answered affirmatively .
“Feel free to ask any number of questions”, I said with a smile.
Charan wondered where the question of belief and non-belief came from?
Immediately, I remembered the verse from Kathopanishad of Yajurveda, astītyaikē nāyamastīti caikē and told him, “It is from the Vedas and is mentioned in the Upanishads”.
Charan exclaimed “Is it so? It is said that even the Vedas could not fully describe the qualities of the Brahman and unable to witness It, have retracted”.
I wanted to say that I was not present when that happened, but instead restrained myself.
Then many conversations around Jillellamudi continued such as its past glory, about great personalities who visited Mother, how non-believers and believers approached Mother and how she guided them. Since I have written about them in the past, I will not elaborate again.
After continuing those discussions for some time, Charan raised another question, “What is Samskara? Isn't this term used loosely? What is the true meaning of a samskara? Is it granted to us? Is that something we gain? Or is it acquired?
Since it is a very deep subject, I took a moment and said all three were true.
Charan was surprised by my answer.
I continued, “Initially when God created you, he bestowed on you certain traits. Then, along your journey, you gain some and in this process, you acquire some from the surroundings. What results as a union of these three is your Samskara”.
Charan expressed his dissatisfaction at my answer and felt that it may not be right.
I smiled. Even though Charan knows the answers, many a time he raises questions just for the sake of holding a conversation. However, being well aware of it, I tease him, just to make the journey lively for the folks travelling with us.
My wife, Ram Murthy and Nagamani were silently listening to our conversation from the rear seat.
I probed Charan, “Did you ask the question despite knowing the answer?”
He denied, “I don't know the answer, hence my question”.
I asked, “Then, how could you know that the answer was incorrect?”
He countered, “I don't know the answer, but I can only tell if it is right or wrong”.
I further challenged him, “How is that possible? Do you consider the answer to be correct if it meets your expectation and wrong, if it doesn't? If that is the case, then doesn’t it imply that you knew the answer beforehand? And if you already knew, then why at all ask? And why deny your knowing the answer?”
He simply shrugged saying, “It's just a feel and I’m only telling you what I felt”.
I told him that there might not be a correlation between what we feel and the exactitude of things. Hence, everything that we think as right according to our gut feel may not be right always.
He remained silent.
To elaborate more on this, I said, “Let me give you a small example. You started on a voyage to some far off place. Your father gave you some money towards expenses. That is the capital you received when you were created as a soul. Then you start your travel, i.e, the soul's journey through the wheel of birth and death, and as a part of this journey, one accumulates many experiences, good and bad. These are your earnings. Along the journey, you have companions, and you acquire some karma from them. First is the capital, second is your earnings and third is what we acquire. All three combined become our Samskaras”.
Charan did not like my answer. Looking at him it was hard to control my laughter.
Soon we were at Nagulapadu and everyone except me went and had darshan in the temple. We resumed our drive and conversation.
“Samskara means your innate tendencies or hidden patterns of thought and behavior. But we tend to use this term in various contexts. When we say, ‘He is a man of character’ we generally refer to a person with good character. Similarly when we speak of virtue, we refer to good qualities of a person. But both virtue and character can be good or bad. Same is the case with Samskara. When we say a person does not have Samskara, it implies that he is uncultured and ill-mannered. No matter in how many ways we use this term, the meaning remains unchanged. Samskara means one’s thought and behavior patterns. And it is formed based on the above mentioned three earnings.” added I.
Charan said that this sounded somewhat agreeable.
As I hate for the conversation to end here without making anyone mad, I continued the discussion further, saying that the actual trouble begins here.
Charan asked “What is it?”.
I replied, “Some poets also come close to evolved sadhakas except that they lack experience. With their intuition they are able to envisage some of the spiritual concepts. Among such poets, a few who belong to the ancient times have raised this very question. It is the fundamental issue of creation”.
“What is it?” wondered Charan.
I explained - they questioned God thus, ‘It is all your fault, not mine. You condemn me for getting lost and drawn into the universe created by you. But it is indeed your fault. Why did you create me this way? And why do these attractions exist in your creation? And if I fall for them, you say that I am messed up. How strange is all this? Why in the first place did you create such attractions? Hence the real fault is yours’.
Charan asked angrily, “Who were those poets?”
Shying away from the names, I told him that there are quite a few who said so.
“Fools ! So they dare to question the creator himself ! ”, he said indignantly.
“They aren't questioning the Almighty, but they are merely questioning the way the universe is created”, I calmly added.
“Who are they to question in that manner? How can a mere mortal question the Supreme Lord? When a potter makes pots out of clay, some of them are broken and some are cracked, so he puts them aside. Now does that mean he is a bad potter?” Charan said sharply.
I tried to pacify Charan, “Don't be too upset, you are driving a car, don’t forget it! Listen to me with a calm mind. You cannot compare the Divine with a potter. Your comparison holds good only to a certain extent since the potter does not have free reign. Neither he has control over the clay nor the other things involved in the process. A slight negligence on his part can ruin the pot. But God is beyond all human imperfections. Everything is within his control, he does not have oversight nor does he sleep. Then why do these attractions, desires and illusions exist in the universe? If he has given a measuring stick of equal length to all, then how did so many differences arise among living beings? This implies that he did not give everyone the measuring stick of the same length! Doesn't it?”
Charan became furious. “God has given us adequately but if one expends carelessly and becomes a pauper, is it God's fault? He gave you an exam and it is for you to prepare and pass the test but instead if you fail, is it his fault?” Charan said, showing his anger on the accelerator. The car started to run faster.
I laughed to myself and said “Isn't the thought to expend also given by him? Who built the ice cream parlours, bars, casinos, stores etc. on the way? What is the whole point of the test, when it is he who endows some with intelligence, some with ignorance, leaks the questions to some, and not to some, isn't it bias? The poet has questioned this”.
“It is meant to be that way ! He conducts the test and it is for us to study and get through it”, he said fuming with anger.
I asked, “If that be the case, then it is sheer cruelty and that would portray God as a ruthless barbarian. Do you like that?”
He repeated again, “If one gives into attractions and loses track of the way, is it the fault of the Divine?"
“Why does the Divine create such attractions? Why does it give us a mind that is fascinated by them? And if you get distracted, why does He blame you for getting lost?”, this is precisely what the poet asks, I said smiling.
He pondered silently for a moment. He couldn't reason, so he finally asked what the poet's answer was.
I replied, “He did not answer it. He simply posed the question but hadn't recorded the answer”.
“The question probably has no answer, which is why it hasn't been recorded. Because, if there was an answer, then wouldn’t the poets have written that as well? Hence it must be a question without an answer!”, he proclaimed.
I smiled and said, “How can that be possible, Charan? There can never be a question without an answer. If a question exists, there exists the answer too. They are like light and shadow, they always go together”.
Charan contemplatively said, “If the answer exists, then why wouldn't he provide it? Perhaps his intention was for us to find it?”
“Exactly, one needs to find his own answer for this question. That’s it, that can be the only logical solution! It can never be resolved by reasoning. Here ends the discussion!” I concluded.
In fact, this is an age old riddle. Since the beginning of time, there has been no answer to this question. Islam proclaims that Allah is the most compassionate, but it cannot explain how so much hatred came into being in His creation. It then declared that it is man’s creation. Isn't it God, who seeds hatred into the minds of men? After all, how else could a human possibly imbibe hatred? There would be no answers to such questions.
‘Jehovah created the beautiful Earth, but Satan destroys it’, claims Christianity. Why would the all powerful Jehovah not interfere when Satan is ruining his adorable creation? Who created Satan? Isn’t it God himself? And doesn’t that mean it is all God’s folly? Again, Christianity has no answers to these questions.
How does one acquire good or bad Samskaras? Who infuses bad behavior into a person? What does the term ‘bad’ mean? How does one become wicked? Why are such circumstances formed? Does it mean God could not perceive that man could go astray with so many temptations created around him? In spite of knowing this, does God still play this cruel game with us? Why? What is the goal? Is there even a goal to this game? Or is this all part of the evolutionary process? And where will evolution end, if it ends at all? If it ends somewhere, how can you call it evolution? What is the eternal truth behind it?” There are no answers to these fundamental questions in any religion.
Mother of Jillellamudi also said the same, “If God is the giver of good, then who gives evil?
In this creation, why does evil, Satan, attractions, temptations, shortcomings and illusions exist? What is this play and what for? Why do such basic imperfections exist in man?
Perhaps there are no answers to these questions. Even if there are, they might only flash to individuals based on their maturity and their level on the evolutionary scale. Perhaps that is Nature's law? Good and Evil, do they really exist in this Universe? What is good? What is evil? How is the fine line of difference between them defined? Where is it and why is it present? Why are they created in the first place? What is this game about?
As I was immersed in these thoughts, we arrived at Jillellamudi.
All rights reserved. This article has been translated by Annapoorna B, which was originally posted in teluguyogi.net on June 20, 2018. The content or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express permission of the publisher.