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Musings on Pilgrim's Progress

In the ancient land of Aryavarta, on the Holy banks of river Saraswati, there flourished a rare civilization that produced men and women of razor sharp intellect and exalted perfection. They contemplated on the nature of their inner Self and saw 'mantras' and the 'hymns' of the Vedas, and were thus known as the Rishis or Seers of Truth. They were pure in heart and free from petty compulsions of the social norms. Then a Sita passed the 'fire test' to prove her purity, but still the social forces compelled Rama to abandon her. In the ensuing entropy, a Bhishma and a Drona sat with their head bent in shame as the ruling Kauravas put the hapless Draupadi to distasteful humiliation. The forces of 'Darkness' entered the crown of Parikshita, and the enchanting dance of sensualism has since then thrilled the world stage. What's more in store remains to be seen, because this Age of Darkness is too fascinating, and like the Pandora's box difficult to fathom and put to analysis. Moreover, it is very young and therefore probably buoyant and aggressive!

Buddha once remarked, 'O Ananda, don't be surprised by any oddity of this world.' Many surprises are in stores in the womb of time and space that reveal themselves as repulsive, queer, and crude at times, and as blissful, attractive, and subtle at the other. All these are manifest interactions of matter with matter to find meaning of its existence. In this journey, which is conscious in a very few, many inscrutable things come to fore; things that appear unnatural or even disgusting. Such occasional unnatural occurrences are termed as exceptions and are fraught with disdain, indifference, or casual observation. But when they begin to occur regularly and tend to become common and widespread, these very incidents (or acts or events) form the 'body of facts' for science to undertake as the subject matter their study.

New terms are coined for such unnatural and unwanted interplay between matter and matter. Thus, we encounter many unusual terms related to sexual perversions, corruption, and so on. These are unnatural human interactions and tendencies. What is intriguing is this fact that the so-called rational man, with power to reason, is involved in such ungainly acts! However, this can be explained on the basis of the surcharged human intellect that has gone wayward in its attempts to experiment and find new meaning to his/her existence.

However, one finds some solace in that all such waywardness is temporary, although in our small measure of time it appears unending and tiresome in historical perspective. But the supreme law continues to rotate its wheel without break; every action must have its end as it has its origin. If the social correctives are not applied in time, a stage comes when these unnatural tendencies and distortions act as the cause of their nemesis also. The human race comes to extinction by its own follies, Nature teaches a very harsh lesson to it. The much-acclaimed fine intellect is reduced to nothing more that stony grossness.

The forces of Darkness take hold of heart and the hearth. Kali Purusha (Forces of Darkness and not Ma Kali) not only hides in the golden crown of power, but also gains entry into human genes as selfishness. Money and lust harbor deadly poison of Takshaka for the humanity to suffer under its baneful effect. Persecution ensues, with sword and with the pen, of religion in general and of Advaita in particular. Vedanta is charged with the crime of blasphemy; a man of god is labeled homosexual. Many more surprises are in store in this dark period of human history.

All this should serve as a warning bell to the traveler on the royal road. The brave and the wise should march on to realize the Truth, the Truth that is the substratum of every event he encounters on his journey to Ultimate. He should shun distractions as mirages, howsoever, thirsty he might be. For, these apparent oases are the death traps, dry and deadly, with no water of compassion or kindness to quench the eternal thirst of human race.

In the darkness of hour, the spirit appears to take shelter behind the sham scientific progress and pseudo-democratic institutions. There is a wave of sophisticated talks on individualism, agnosticism, atheism, reason, and rationality. A Marx tries to put cart before the horse by proclaiming 'consciousness is determined by the social means of production'. A physicist and a mathematician pride themselves in solving the riddle of origin of the universe without resorting to 'religion'; Church is snubbed as 'not needed'.

But is it really so? The quantum jump of physics falls short in explaining the mystery of 'wave and particle' and the 'string' theory will similarly get entangled in the meshwork of its own creation. The progress of science would continue to fascinate the ignorant, the blind leading the blind. But the Graceful Reality would try to guide these misled people; it would stand as visionary spirit of Vedanta for these blind men and women to find their lost path. Many of these fellows would dash against this strong support, but only a few would open their eyes and bow to the Light they have so graciously encountered. Others would continue to grope in the dark even after coming in contact with the Light itself, and they would scornfully pronounce 'Ah! One more obstacle'! They would change the direction a bit to continue to roam in the blind alley, blindfolded.

But disrespect to Truth has its limit; the decline in dharma is strongly felt by dharma itself, and it soon embodies as Saviour of mankind. He need not always be mild and kind, for as Sri Krishna says in the Gita: "I am the inflamed Kala (Time), the destroyer of the world, my purpose here is to destroy these people. Even without you, O Arjuna, all these warriors arrayed in the enemy camp will not survive." (Gita, XI, 32)
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