It was 5 am in the morning and I had just reached Mathura station from my hotel to onboard a train to Haridwar. After smoking a ciggarette and failing to locate a tea stall, I was loitering about in the parking lot, and then i see this sadhu sitting there, meditating.
I am standing there for the last 15 minutes watching the sadhu, and smoked another ciggarette. The sadhu is still as a rock and suddenly opened his eyes and nodded his head downwards two times.
“Is he calling me?” I wondered. Or is he just following some routine after he is done meditating.
“Idhar aao, idhar aao” (come here, come here). The sadhu said in a deep voice.
I am still unsure whether he is calling me or not so i stood where i was. Then the voice came again and this time I was definite he was calling me and noone else. I slowly walked towards him, with a little bit fear and doubt in my mind as to what is going to happen. On reaching him, i calmly sat near his lap and folded my hands.
“Poocho kya poochna hai” (ask me what you want to ask), the sadhu whispered slowly, as if he is going to reveal some secret.
“Sir how do you know i was thinking in my mind to ask you something?”
“Arey beta, hamari aankhen band hain to kya, doosri aankh to khuli hai na. Poocho kya poochna hai” (Son, my eyes were closed so what, the other eye was open and i could see through your thoughts. You can ask me what you want.)
“Sir, why do you meditate and what do you get out of it?” I asked.
“Do you know cycling?” asked the sadhu with his eyes closed.
“Yes I do, although I don’t ride a bicycle anymore. I drive a car”. I replied.
“Cycle, motorbike, Car or Aeroplane, doesn’t matter. You drive something. When you drive it, do you think how to drive and what to do or does it happen automatically?” asked the Sadhu.
“Well it happens automatically without much thinking. I know when to shift gears, when a horn has to be given, when to speed up, when to speed down, when to use indicators… I don’t have to think, decide and then act. It happens totally on reflex and no effort is required.” I explained.
“Exactly. The mind is also a vehicle. Most of us do not know how to operate and drive the mind. Most of us are not expert drivers of our own mind. Which is why we need events, actions and other distractions to keep the mind engaged or rather distracted. For example, you want to watch movies, you want to eat at a restaurant, you want to go to vacation, you want to buy that expensive dress, you want to settle abroad, alchohol, parties, facebook and what not. These are worldy desires which will never end and it will continue to delude you for the rest of your life. Some of these things can give momentary pleasure but they will not give you lasting happiness, satisfaction, fulfillment, joy or peace. These are nothing but ramifications of our own mind, which is not in our control. It’s like you are driving your car or bicycle and it is going out of control. Result is nothing but an accident where either you are hurt or the car is damaged or some other form of loss.
The point of meditation is to learn how to drive the mind so that at one point, it becomes automatic just like you drive your car and do not have to put extra effort or thinking while you are driving. When you meditate for a substantial amount of time, you will become an expert driver of your own mind and then you will no longer need other things to distract your mind. You will be the master of your own mind and nothing else will be required to control it. You will no longer need worldly pleasures, physical objects, relationships, ambitions – everything is unnecessary when you have controlled your own mind.
And the only way to control and attain mastery over your thoughts is through meditation, Jap, Tap and sadhana.”
The sadhu stopped and took out a pack of Biri from his Jholi, lit it, and exhaled his first puff of smoke.
“Baba, if you don’t mind me asking, if you are meditating for so long, then why do you need to smoke? Aren’t you entangled in worldy pleasure yourself? If you have controlled your mind, then you do not need the smoke or do you?”
To this the Sadhu smirked and pondered for a while. Then he said
“Beta, who said that I have fully controlled my mind and attained mastery of it? I have not. I am as much a novice as you are. Controlling the mind is not so easy. It’s just that my craving for material things is far lesser than other people. But there is still some craving left. I have not mastered it completely, which is why I am still a chela and I do have a guru who beats me every once in a while because i have failed him. I don’t mind, in fact, I love getting the beating from my guru which purifies me to some extent. It is a never ending process, and we are just travellers without a firm destination. Only a few achieve that state while most will fail.
“When did you leave your home and became a wandering monk? At what age you started your journey?” I further enquired
“I am not supposed to give you all the details but I can tell you that i left my home at a very young age of 17. I am over 50 now, and you see i am still struggling. This body has lived in the himalayas, near godavri, narmada, Gujarat and where not, and I am still travelling. But the hankering for material desires has not fully gone away, which means, i have to put more effort and dedication.
By this time his smoke was complete and he asked me to get some tea from the nearby tea stall which had opened by now. I took his leave for the moment and went away to get two cups of tea.
In few minutes when I turn around with two cups of tea in my hand, I see the man was no longer there. He had left. Where did he go? I dropped the tea cups and looked around but could not find him. By this time, the scheduled arrival of my train was near so I had to rush to the station and board the train.
I kept thinking about the conversation during the journey. I was asking myself – why am I going to this pilgrimage destinations? Can’t I observe god from my living room? It is because my mind is not in control, I have to rush to these pilgrimage centers, observe god or the so called dieties and think i have done something. It is totally unnecessary, I am doing this because my mind itself is not in my control and because of the ramifications of my own mind, I am having to run to other destinations to get a glimpse of god or the almighty.
It could very well be achieved from my living room if my mind was in my control. But alas it is not, and as the Sadhu said, because the mind is not in control, you have to run after things, events and other distractions which will continue to delude you for the rest of your life.