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On life and its vagaries

The parable of the mirror

with 14 comments


In Chaandogya Upanishad there is this story of Indra going in search of his true self. He approaches the prjapati or the father of all with his doubts and was instructed on the nature of real self phase by phase. It is a detailed analysis of self in the manner seen in the Maandukya Upanishad. Actually if you want to follow the monistic form of self inquiry there is not a better book than the Maandukya. But it is rather abstruse and we may have to resort to commentaries and studies like the Maandukya Karika to master it, though the Upanishad finishes with just 12 slokas.


I thought it worthwhile to look into the teachings of those great teachers from the perspective of a modern man. The sage I portray in the lines that follow is as doubtful of his inner reality as those who comes in search for it seeking his help.  Being lazy he partakes of the knowledge coming to him through his followers and perhaps has achieved liberation in the end.


The parable of the mirror



People often come ask me

How to find themselves

I become confused and muse:

Do I know it myself…………..


(We normally see everything else

But our own selves)

So I say surprised:

You could be me you know!


They miss the surprise in my voice

And take me on my words

Oh, we believe you, but……

How to know it for sure?


I am intrigued by their faith in me

And hesitantly suggest:

Can’t we look in a mirror?

I mean isn’t that the best way?


They say laughing

Oh we do it all the time

But see only this

And they indicate their body


Yes I murmur happily

But you see it with something else, don’t you?

Now they seem a little thoughtful:

There is that of course

We need to look further….


I see them depart but soon rushing back.

We see it with our eyes don’t we?

They ask

You do, I say, but you are not eyes are you?

They think for a bit and say

Okay we will look a little further….

And they leave


I soon forget about them

And goes back to my own pointless ramblings

Then they are back again

This time quite delighted:

We found it, you know, it is the mind that sees us

We think we have found ourselves!


You have, I say

But could there be something which sees the mind too?

They seem a little bemused

You think so?


……… Well…… I say:

I mean, isn’t it better to make sure?

Okay, we will, they again depart to their mirror


This time they were absent for a long while

But I sat waiting for them now

Oh, I was curious


And one day I found them within me

Fully conscious

We found you, they say

You did, I murmur

And we found ourselves too

You seem to have, I assent

We are consciousness, they say.


I was still a wee bit doubtful

And Ask:

Did you look really behind?


They laugh:

There is no behind no before

Neither below nor above

Where is left where right

There is only you we I


Well awake from my dream

I too start murmuring

Yes, yes there is only I

Me and mine, you in me,

These all mine and everything me.

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14 Responses

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  1. dearest sam,

    your poems are becoming fabulous day by day. well i believe we know ourselves thoroughly, only sometimes we deny it..

    but we know others only that much as much they allow us to know them.

    trisha

    October 21, 2009 at 3:08 pm

  2. Dearest Trisha, you are right, we all truly know ourselves, but have chosen to be otherwise.

    Those lines were only a humorous sketch of us going about it.

    Sam

    October 21, 2009 at 6:30 pm

  3. dearest sam,

    the sooner we solemnly acknowledge our true self to ourselves its better for our own mental peace.

    sometimes we give in to surroundings and sometimes to guilt and deny our real self.. it always ends up in hurting ourselves.

    i am always crystal clear to myself.

    trisha

    October 22, 2009 at 2:58 pm

  4. I was speaking of our inner self dearest Trisha not its apparel like personality 🙂
    There is only one ‘self’ to be found, forget about the cute dresses it wears. They don’t matter. Not to me at least.

    Sam

    October 22, 2009 at 4:25 pm

  5. i too was talking about our inner self 🙂

    trisha

    October 25, 2009 at 7:23 am

  6. I know dearest Trisha

    I was seeking emphasis 🙂

    Sam

    October 25, 2009 at 11:50 am

  7. you are becoming very naughty 🙂

    trisha

    October 25, 2009 at 4:40 pm

  8. All work and no play makes Johnny dull 🙂

    Sam

    October 25, 2009 at 6:09 pm

  9. dull and naughty are two different things… 🙂

    trisha

    October 27, 2009 at 3:24 pm

  10. Yup, thats why Johnny plays and becomes naughty 🙂

    Sam

    October 27, 2009 at 7:17 pm

  11. good for johnny, bad for johnny’s ma and pa

    trisha

    October 28, 2009 at 4:45 pm

  12. Well they still gave birth to Johnny 🙂

    Sam

    October 28, 2009 at 5:27 pm

  13. so johnny should not be naughty.. 🙂
    he should be a good boy,
    or else his pa and ma will be sad 🙂

    trisha

    October 29, 2009 at 2:42 pm

  14. May be you did not knowed this saying 😉

    “All work and no play makes johnny dull”

    is only a saying meaning life is not all serious and there has to be a little bit of play in it too 😉

    Let us not belabor a point where the humor is lost 😉

    Sam

    October 29, 2009 at 6:26 pm


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