Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Of Tolle, Google and a Few Kindred Souls – A pattern That Connects



I still remember how fiercely I despised that book “ The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle just because I saw it branded a self improvement book. For months together I did not even bother to touch that book though I passed by the railway station news stand and street sellers and book shops at various places. My aversion for self improvement books got all the more fierce after I read Sheldon B Kopp's “If you Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him !”. Few months back I was checking out the new arrivals at the railway station books shop and I ended up picking up the very book I hitherto abhorred. I just wanted to read the last few pages of it to see if it is really worth buying it… and I ended up beginning from the very last sentence – rather the very last question and answer :

Q: When do I know that I have surrendered?

A: When you no longer need to ask that question.

That hit me hard…really hard that I felt ( for a few moments) as if a huge pile of my prejudice just dissolved in the sheer forcefulness of that statement. . A simple answer to one of the most difficult questions … an answer that summarizes the entire teachings of Tolle and perhaps all the Masters who grace(d) this planet.

If it is providence that made me pick up that book in a way I have never done before, then I felt convinced that this is going to lead to another divine decree call it (cosmic coincidences if you like) with much deeper implications. Few days back I searched on the net for more information on Tolle and with absolutely no surety of getting anything from Google video ( since copyright protected videos hardly appear on Google-video archive) I searched for Tolle videos , got an entire listing of it and downloaded almost everything, I was so excited at the possibility of it reaching real seekers , the very thought of these videos reaching those whom I felt would be immensely benefited by it… that will add a deeper dimension of peace and meaning to their lives used to boost up my energy levels to sit through the nights and download those high quality videos.

I had a few people in my mind to give it to…yes , from the sophisticated, learned and the evolved ones to the distraught and lonely ones . I was sure that this will help many to unlearn and learn afresh. I was more inclined to let it all flow towards the latter domain because to the former it would be just another precious thing to quote and possess and to the letter it will be solace and guidance they can live with that will definitely help them live through as well. The first one I picked was an old academician who had done much for this place…who had his time of power and glory till one day when he was unceremoniously eased from the inner circles. He soon became a lonely man with hardly any one around . A well read man, I saw this erudite scholar who often appeared to me as an impenetrable wall of prejudice gently turn into an approachable grandfather figure. I really could not believe myself when he used to walk into my cabin and ask “do have any new books”…”what is your opinion on this…” and then walk out pulling back the chairs to its place. This man who shook this campus once with rules and restrictions seemed to be coming out of his soul cages of power induced ego and knowledge induced prejudice.

I wanted him to have Tolle’s video lectures , I just felt that it is going to touch his life in a significant way. When I mentioned that I’d love to write a DVD of Tolle Videos for him , he was just so eager to have it. He at once got up to go and buy 2 DVDs . The next day morning I saw him waiting for me in my cabin and I handed over the DVD to him. Given the fact that he is the man who used to criticize anything and everything , the thought that tomorrow he will come out with a bunch of criticisms on Tolle did cross my mind when I handed over the DVD to him.

The next day I saw him, but I managed to escape a conversation that I feared will provoke me . After a few days when I went to the canteen I saw him sitting there..this time I just could not leave the place, I had a few people with me. Just when I was about to take my tea and walk to a table, I felt some one gently touching my shoulder. It was him smiling… a full smile this time, not a forced, difficult smile. I stood there all ready to listen what he had to say in a state of eagerness to know about his experience of listening to Tolle and at the same time caught in an apprehensive repulsiveness wondering how I am going to react if he went on a split hair analysis criticism spree. But I was wrong, terribly wrong. He started speaking :

“ I must really thank you for the Tolle videos… thank you very much. He is just amazing…after a long time I found myself listening to some one and it seems to have gone deep into me. You know when I got a PhD I felt that I will be happy , but that happiness did not last for long. When my son was born I felt on top of the world, but soon I found myself falling, When I rose up in my career I felt I am an achiever, but it took me a long time to realize that I won at the cost of distancing many people. When I got a grandchild, I was happy but some how I could not play with my grandchildren…all the attributes I had on myself grew so heavy and crushed me…and now as I grow older every day with my intellect dimming , I began to wonder where I am really heading to. Now you have given me something that will help me emerge out of the gravitating past…I see a meaningful life ahead moving towards peaceful death”

Goodness, he thanked me. Thanks must go to everyone right from Tim Berners-Lee to Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

For a few moments I felt that I have accomplished my task…but that myth was soon debunked when I found that a search on “Eckhart Tolle” on Google-video archive yielded no results. I just could not believe it…I searched again and again…cleared the system cache, restarted the machine and searched, but no search results on any of the over 15 Tolle videos I got some weeks back. I was stunned !

It looks more like Google has accomplished it’s task of touching yet another life in its own inscrutable ways…from a different perspective I feel like rephrasing Kopp’s book title “ If you meet the Buddha on the Road, kill Him” to “If you meet the Buddha on the Road, Hug Him !”

The voice of silence spoke :

Q: Why do you reach out?

A: To get touched !

….and the old saying I read long back came flashing forth :

“ What is not given is lost!”

Now as I read Tolle’s new book “The New Earth “ I feel all the more convinced that we are moving towards an awakening whose glimpses shine forth in almost everything we do. Every technological progress, every act of reaching out has it’s eager counterpart of some one’s life getting transformed somewhere.

A parable I read recently in Paulo Coelho’s latest book “ Like the Flowing River” seems to reinforce that sense of fraternity, a realization that we are all heading towards a common destiny - be it either Awakening or Annihilation, the choice is ours…as Elie Wiesel said “Peace is not God’s gift to mankind, it is our gift to each other” !

Here’s the parable from Coelho:

“ A rabbi gathered together his students and asked them:

‘ How do we know the exact moment when night ends and day begins?’

‘When it is light enough to tell sheep from a dog’ , said one boy.

Another student said : ‘ No when there is light enough to tell an olive tree from a fig tree.’

‘No, that’s is not a good definition either.’

‘Well, what’s the right answer?’ asked the boys.

And the rabbi said:

‘When a stranger approaches, and we think he is our brother, and all conflicts disappear, that is the moment when night ends and the day begins.’

Mind you, this parable comes from the Jewish tradition !

It is time to really look into Samuel P Huntington's theory that states “"It is my hypothesis that the fundamental source of conflict in this new world will not be primarily ideological or primarily economic. The great divisions among humankind and the dominating source of conflict will be cultural. Nation states will remain the most powerful actors in world affairs, but the principal conflicts of global politics will occur between nations and groups of different civilizations. The clash of civilizations will dominate global politics. The fault lines between civilizations will be the battle lines of the future."

It is no more a hypothesis...it is a living theory now , the proof is strewn all around , from the domestic front to the global realms...from the holocaust...through Arab-Isreali conflicts...Combodia...Coratia...thorugh September11...through Iraq...

to where...

the choice is clear !

9 Comments:

Blogger Nero said...

Prof H was always like that. Only wish he smiled more often :D

Wednesday, November 15, 2006  
Blogger pilgrimhawk said...

hey dear nero..wrong huess..it was not "H"....hahahaha...

Wednesday, November 15, 2006  
Blogger Rakesh said...

Wished u'd called after I read this !!
Man.. What a Post !!!!!!!!!!!!!

I can imagine the momentous feeling right down ur heart, when u stood up with him, hearing those mighty words !! It did certainly hit me hard !

I pray that we get to read millions of such experiences from all around the places !! That in itself, can enrich a lot of souls...

Wednesday, November 15, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

kindRED, hawk. KindR-E-D.

Friday, December 29, 2006  
Anonymous Chethan said...

Ajai - Happy New Year! I'm sure you will recollect who this is, though it's been more than a decade! Enjoyed reading your blog. I'm getting ready to do some searching my Self.

Chethan

Monday, January 08, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The message from the old man came to me at this time when I needed it the most. I am beginning to realise how easier it is to be lost...

ajith

Thursday, January 25, 2007  
Anonymous Arvind said...

Ah, after 15 minutes of frantic searching, I was able to locate your site via Google.

This is Arvind Pillai from the UAE, nice work!

Sunday, April 29, 2007  
Blogger sylviashines said...

what a wonderful story pilgrimhawk! i've just now been taking some time to catch up on your prolific observations, in poetry and snaps. thank you for the continued inspiration.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007  
Blogger Sreekumar R said...

It was like a video of the this person under discussion, you captuerd it really well. And I have made it a point to read "The power of now" which was lying on my table for long

Thursday, July 03, 2008  

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