By Moni Mohan Bhattacharyya
Oct 25, 2011,
Darkness cannot stand the glare of light. But to perceive the full brightness of light one needs total darkness as both darkness and light are complementary and opposite to each other. What is darkness to light, so negativity is to enlightenment. Negativity can never sneak into an enlightened mind for such a mind achieves total control over the senses. Thus, negativity in any form is helpful for alerting, probing as also enlightening the mind of a spiritual seeker.
Debarshi Narada, the wandering sage, was a Brahmachari, as also a Brahmajnani and a great devotee of Vishnu. Once, as he had withstood and spurned the lure of the god of love, Kamadeva, a sense of ego prevailed over him. Being Antar-yami (omniscient), Vishnu could read his mind; He created an illusory kingdom where a beautiful princess was placed in Narada's way. As it happened, Narada was so tempted by the beauty of the princess that he attended the swayamvar ceremony as a suitor. Meanwhile, as Vishnu had transformed Narada's face to that of a monkey`s without his knowledge, Narada was summarily rejected by the princess. Thus, as he was helped to regain his true Self by Divine Grace, the kingdom vanished from his sight.
Advaitist Shankaracharya became a jnana-yogi at an early age. One day, he was going towards the Ganga for a bath. Suddenly, he noticed a Chandala (outcaste) coming from the opposite end. To avoid contact he asked the Chandala to step aside but the latter did not heed his request. Shankara was perturbed and warned him again. Seeing Shankar’s anger, Shiva as Chandala replied "O Brahmin! Who are you asking to step aside, the body or the atman? How would they move, as both are inert? Is there a difference then between a Brahmin and a Chandala?" Shankara accepted the truth with humility.
In the Mahabharata, once king Vishwamitra was amazed by the divine power of Brahmarshi Vashista and entreated the great sage to endow him with Brahmarshihood. Vashista did not oblige even at the risk of earning his ire. A dejected Vishwamitra relinquished his kingdom and went to the forest to meditate for several years. Indra, the king of devas, afraid of his austerity, sent his court dancer, Menaka, to disrupt his sadhana and this paved the way for the birth of Shakuntala.
Narada and Shankara, both being Brahma-jnanis, should not have any misgivings on negativity. That they both failed in the face of reality indicates that they achieved the exalted state thus far theoretically only, through meditation. Hence they were required to face reality - which proved to be the acid test for their absolute perfection. As for Vishwamitra, when he was lured by the apsara (nymph) he definitely did not attain the state of 'Chitta-shuddhi'. However, after the incident, he left the place in quest of his unfinished journey to divinity and finally succeeded.
Ramakrishna Paramahansa says that as boiled paddy ceases to germinate, a realised soul can never be lured. Even then, as such souls need to be tested, one can understand how subtle is the spiritual pursuit and the rigour of perfection demanded; a great learning process for aspiring seekers.
Krishna says in the Gita that even if a spiritual seeker slips from the path of yoga he is neither hated nor fallen. He also assures Arjuna that the seeker being a good doer can never suffer a downfall and he restarts his unfinished journey with renewed vigour.
Source: The Times of India, New Delhi