It was early morning. The world was slowly coming to life.
As the morning breeze rattled tree leaves , meek chirpy whistles came out from the nests . Slowly, cows and cattle were standing up in their stable. The bells in their neck rung intermittently. The soft rays of morning sun made their first appearance and the dew on tree leaves sparkled like pearls. Far off somewhere a rooster made it official. It was morning.
The sound of knocking broke the silence.
The door of Radha’s house cracked open. Once again Uddhava was greeted with warm smile. Once again he was welcomed in.
The front yard was cleaned, the plants were watered and a lamp was lit under the Tulsi Vrindavan. So Radha was already awake.
Uddhava freshened up and finished his glass of fresh milk, as Radha finished some morning chores. She lit the fire and sat next to him.
“So Uddhava, I hear you are Maharishi now?”
“Yes. I am afraid so.”
Both of them laughed.
“So what’s the message for me today?”
She still had that mischievous smile.
“Today I come with no message. Only questions.” Uddhava said as he fidgeted with his fingers.
“Still today I lay back on my bed in night, I think of what you said. I try to link it to what I learned. Sometimes I can, sometimes I can’t.”
He paused for a moment. The crackling sound of firewood only highlighted the silence in that moment.
“I think of the day I left from Dwaraka, feeling weird that Krishna has not given any message for you. My intentions were honest, yet I ended up doing something very foolish. If such a circumstances may arise in future, what should be the course of my action? What is the right thing to do? All my knowledge seems to have failed this simple test Krishna gave me.”
“Sitting in the chariot, I tried to fake a message. That was a mistake, and standing before you, I looked foolish , that was the retribution. Don’t you think so?”
Radha did not say anything for a few minutes. She rearranged the logs in the fire. The smoke reduced and the flames showed up again. Finally she spoke in the same soothing tone.
“You see this firewood, Uddhava? In a few minutes this will be reduced to ashes. Then I will throw the ashes in the trees. They will go into soil. One day a new tree will come out of the soil. There will be new trunk, new branches, new leaves. One day those branches and leaves will collapse and will burn again somewhere.”
“Is there a right way of going from firewood to ashes? Is there a wrong way of going from ashes to soil? The truth is Uddhava, the words wood, soil and ashes have no meaning an inch outside of your head. They exist only in your thoughts, your mind. In reality there is no wood, no ashes, no soil and no tree. There is only journey from wood to ashes to soil and to wood again.”
“Has she read Gita?” Was Uddhava’s first thought. He remembered Krishna’s description of journey of soul.
“What I hear you saying is the entities and their relationships exist in my perception. May be this is true, but this does not answer my question.” Uddhava said.
“If I apply what you said to me, then it means that my ego is an fictional entity. In such a way you can argue that every entity like ego, person, family, village community, an empire and humanity is more of a convention, not a reality.”
“If all these are convention, then what should be the foundation of morality? The mother nurses the child. Can she just turn away from the child thinking that the child, the ego of the child is just another convention? ”
Uddhava let off his steam and fell silent. Radha was still calm, still smiling. Slowly she began.
“Uddhava, if you cross the fence and go to the next door, you will indeed find a mother nursing her daughter. She is not the only one to nurse her kid. All the mothers in the village do. And why village, all the mothers in the universe, animals and humans alike, have nursed their kids from the beginning of the time and will do so till end of time.”
“So if each and every mother does it, then may be it is not the person, the identity, the ego, the individual. It’s the nature. Nature nurtures nature itself, through the mother and through the child. Nature kills nature itself, through the winning warrior and through the losing warrior.”
“The one who sees the world as such, will not think of himself or herself as the driver of this world. Rather the person would see himself/herself as the vehicle, an agent, through which the nature drives a giant game. ”
“We are all part of this game, we always were and we will always be. Sometimes we are the nature, sometimes we are the individual. Sometimes we play dead, sometimes we play alive. Sometimes we are happy, sometimes we are sad. Uddhava, a being is not any of its state, it is the going, the motion. A person or an individual is not the one who is happy or the one who is sad, a person is who goes from being happy to being sad and from being sad to being happy.”
“Such is the game of world. Happiness always gives birth to grief and grief always delivers happiness. There is no end. They have alternated since the beginning of time and will continue to do so. Those who realize this will not worry about being happy or being sad. They will not resist nature, instead realize that they are part of it. Thus they will stop living artificial, manipulated life and start living natural, easy life. Thus they will stop being something else and be themselves.”