February 13, 2011

Wandering Free in the Himalayas – Part 2

… The days went by and one day around the people I knew in Rishikesh I heard about a Mahatma (realized soul) living in the jungle of Haridwar. Unlike my city life, I had all the time in the world over here and didn’t want to lose any opportunity to meet such a highly evolved person, so I quickly jumped at the chance to join the group visiting the Mahatma.

The forest in which this man lived is a closely guarded nature reserve with restricted entry. As our group made way through the terrain, the freshness of the wild forest started enveloping us, the sharp noise of the city was left way behind only to be welcomed by the late evening chirps of birds waiting to fly back home. Peacocks seemed to care less of the group but the bird atop the tree did sound a little curious of the arrival of handful of men in this dense forest. The might and grandeur of the forest was evident, humbling us as we walked through the winter chill, reminding me all the time how we humans try hard to dominate the nature and yet how tiny we are in front of her vastness and power. Pondering over this I made my way through the uneven ground.

After a while we reached a small house, surrounded by a fence made out of natural wood and reinforced by thorny creepers, I suppose to keep the wild animals away. We were welcomed warmly by a group of monk-sadhaks with gleaming smile. The floor was dusted hurriedly and cloth baithaks (sitting sheets) were spread out to accommodate us.

In front of us on a charpai (Indian bed made up of naturally made strings) sat one of the most unassuming men I have ever seen. His name was Siddha Baba, the accomplished One. He sat there silently. When we sat in front of him at his feet he looked at us, his look was his acknowledgement, there were no expressions on his face, as if we being there or not being there was the same, it was just the way it was or was supposed to be. One look from him communicated the “matter of factness” of things that are, just ARE. He was a true Siddha as mentioned in the Bhagvad Gita, unmoved and still in his mind.

The only activity around him was that of the species of animals he was surrounded by. Next to his bed was a big cow, sharing her shade were two dogs, a happy yet shy squirrel sat next to his cushion consuming a nut ,a meandering mouse under his bed and a couple of cats lying lazily at his feet on the cool floor. We all were amazed by this spectacle of species. These beasts were so happy in his company sharing his love and deriving a certain power from his silence. The food that we had presented to him was immediately distributed to the animals around him and then was given to the monks to distribute.

Later we were told by the monk-sadhaks that after the sunset many wild animals from across the jungle come and sleep in front of Baba’s house, they knew of instances when tiger, foxes, deer and hares slept next to each other in the shade of his compassionate energy. As the dawn breaks they go back to the depths of the greens. Such is the loving energy of Baba consuming men and beasts alike in its tsunami.

Through out our time in Baba’s presence He did not speak. Infact, He hardly ever spoke.

As they say a wise man rests in his silence, this was one of my first instances of actually meeting a wise man who didn’t have to open his mouth to prove his wisdom to anyone. How inspiring !

To be continued…

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