nihilism for beginners

I’ve been thinking about a post by Shruti Bakshi, someone whose posts I enjoy reading for their understated wisdom and quiet non-extravagant explanations of this beautiful path of yoga. She talks of all yoga ‘paths’ (bhakti… worship, jnana … seeking through intellect, karma..surrender of the fruits of action etc) being essentially all aspects of the path to truth. Please read the post and enjoy.

All roads lead to Rome. There is that which is at our very centre which the sages sing of being beyond everything…Chidananda rupaha, Shivoham Shivoham … ‘I am nothing but pure consciousness.’ What a statement. Even though I am crazy person who handles his life in a crazy way, like a child even though I am old! still I sing that phrase in the morning (great song/kirtan… Nirvana Shatakam) and I don’t feel like some imposter when those words pass my lips… because I know it is true. When mind slows, even though it may not always get to concentration/meditation, I can feel the outer fringes of that consciousness drawing me in… because it’s my permanent home beyond the transience of my individual life. Ha, so cool. The first time I sang those lines I wept. I think I felt a homecoming.

There are many commentaries on the yoga sutras of Patanjali. I read ‘four chapters on freedom’ by Paramahamsa Satyananda. It makes astonishing reading, written by one who knows the path intimately. This is why I don’t worry that I am crazy. Because as he explains when one comes to the boundary between the external and the internal, from pratyahara (withdrawal of senses, external) to dharana and dhyana (concentration, meditation, internal)  thought stops. So I can start to get into the world of ‘I am’. Not I am this or that. This is the start of the internal journey. I no longer need to worry about who or what I am. Just be.

Ha, ok, one thing I commented to Shruti is she is so concise where I ramble on!! So just read if you will this lovely story, which was told to me by someone who was a teacher to me for a stage of my life. Fate brought us together several times, he was a simple (by upbringing) Indian monk, but a wisdom that showed when you looked in his eyes. I still remember them. He was very kind to me though I was ignorant and trapped in the importance of my life events. He helped me to move on each time. People like that teach by their presence, not by the words they say. Their truth resonates with your being.

There was a Great Emperor.

One of his vassal Kings, a great ruler in his own right was summoned to visit the court of the Emperor, where he had not been before.

The Emperor sent his advisor to meet this King. His adviser had been with the Emperor for many years and was the only person the Emperor truly trusted. The adviser was wise and saw the ways of men, saw the deception and the lies in others, simply because he was a great yogi; he did not practice deception or tell lies himself.

The King arrives to see no reception committee, just a man standing at the top of the great steps leading up to the massive doors of the Emperor’s palace. The man wears a simple robe, no adornments.

The King and his retinue ascend the steps. A long way up but when he gets there, still just the lone servant.

‘I am here, summoned to see the Emperor, servant go and inform the guards, I expected them to be here.

‘I am not a servant, I am higher than that.’

The King is unsure of his ground suddenly, he has heard the Emperor sometimes plays games.

‘If you are not a servant, perhaps you are one of the king’s ministers sent to receive me?’

‘I’m not one of the King’s ministers, I am higher than that.’

The man’s bearing and apparent indifference are beginning to rattle the King, surely this is someone of great standing, playing a game with him. He must be careful not to show his annoyance.

‘Forgive me sire, then surely you must be the Emperor’s Prime Minister himself?.’

‘ I am not the Prime Minister. I am higher than that’.

Doubts now crowd in on the King, mighty in his own lands but all at sea here, having never met the Emperor.

‘ Sire, Lord, forgive me, I have heard something of your ways. You are the Emperor himself?’

‘I am not the Emperor, I am higher than that’.

The King’s frustration breaks ranks now, before he can stop himself, blurts out ‘Ah you, you are nothing!’

The sage smiles, deeply satisfied. ‘I am so happy you recognise me. Please come this way, the Emperor awaits you’.


2 thoughts on “nihilism for beginners

  1. Oh thanks so much Tony, you made my day! 🙂 Not sure if the praise is deserved but I really appreciate it and am very encoraged by it (just when I felt like I was losing the motivation to write)!
    I love this post by the way. I recently discovered Nirvana Shaktam and like you I had tears in my eyes when I first heard it. It is the voice of truth. I don’t know which translation and music you have but I found this one to be amazing:
    Keep up the wonderful writing Tony! It is encoraging to read and be part of.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Happy to hear from you…I suddenly thought oh should I have asked your permission before using your name & post? Good timing, I sometimes get that…just don’t want to write…Also thought the other day..if I was writing as a ‘teacher’ thinking I have something important to say!! then maybe I should just keep quiet ha ha , but I’m not I hope. I write in praise of this path of yoga.

    Liked by 1 person

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