Saturday, April 29, 2006

"Not in this incarnation"

Ras leela comes to an end. Presently, hot samosas are being sold outside. The westerners form a single line and patiently wait their turn. Little groups of people are scattered across the courtyard, each discussing some aspect of the dance and their interpretation. Soon, the line is no more and an old man with shaking hands comes over to the table and says, "So, which part of India are you from?"

"Serampore, Calcutta."

"Wonderful! Have you heard of Swami Sri Yukteswar Giri? I've been an indirect disciple of his for many years. Both me and my wife. It has been an absolute blessing to have known about him and to have read his teachings."

"Indeed. You surely would have heard of his disciple, Swami Paramhansa Yogananda. Especially in this part of the world."

"But of course!"

"So, what all parts of India have you traveled to?"

There followed an odd silence.With a far off look in his old eyes, he said "I've not been to India. Atleast not in this incarnation." The far off look transformed into a warm smile. One that demanded understanding. "During one of my meditation sessions I realized that I was once a temple dancer in North India, not too far from Benaras. And this was a long long time ago, around 300 years in the past.

The irony, beauty and subtlety of fate, my child. In this life I've been designing spacecraft for NASA.

Someday, maybe, I will go back to where I belong."