Date: Thu, 20 Jun 2013 09:42:26 +0200
My Grandfather’s “Tapasya”
The year was 1929. My grandfather, a young 22 year old pious man sat there wondering what his meaning and purpose in life was. He had been thinking about these things for some time. But his thoughts led him no where. By 1929, he decided that the time had come for him to go after his dreams and pursue what he wanted the most, in his life: Being one with God and seeing God, in person! He could give up anything and everything for this one. My time has come, he thought to himself. Nothing can stop me now and I will not return till I see God!
He looked up and from his window, he could see a mountain which was in the outskirts of the city of Madras. His face lit up. Immediately he knew what he had to do. Without thinking twice, my grandpa walked out of his house towards the hillock to realize his dreams. One brave soul!
As he climbed the mountain, there were many thoughts on his mind. How do I see God? What should I do, to see God? All of a sudden, in a flash of brilliance, he was reminded of what he read as a kid. The yogis and the sanyasi’s of ancient India did Tapasya to achieve salvation and to see God. A smile flashed on his face and my grandpa knew at that minute what he had to do. His strides were more sure now and he raced to the top of the mountain. Nothing could stop him from being one with God and seeing God. Nothing in this world!
He found a small flat rock near a tree and decided that it was just the right place for him to start his tapasya. Beaming, for having found the way to see God, he sat there underneath the tree and closed his eyes. He did not know how to do tapasya. Neither did he know if he had to follow any particular way. His mind vaguely reminded him of someone saying that yogis recite the name of the God they love, continuously. So he closed his eyes and started chanting “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus…”.
The progress was slow, but the enthusiasm was high. An hour passed. All that one could hear in that lonely place other than the roar of the wind was this gentle murmur “Jesus, Jesus…”. After some time, my grandpa slowly opened one of his eyes to see if Jesus was around. “Cant see anything!” Opened both his eyes. No sight of Jesus! “Oops. I think I need to pray harder.” The prayer continued. Two hours passed. Three hours passed…Half a day passed. Still no sign of Jesus!
“This is not good. What is Jesus doing? Where is he? Does he not like me or is this not the way to pray?” Many questions came in this young person’s mind. He was thirsty and hungry too. But he was determined. “I have come here to see Jesus and nothing in this world, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, can stop me from seeing Jesus,” he thought to himself. More resolute than ever, he continued his prayers.
3PM in the afternoon. No sign of Jesus. 4PM…still no sign. The young man could feel his tummy making noises. The chanting grew feeble. In the middle of the chanting, he was reminded of the nice food that was there in the house. “Wow. It would be great if I have some home made…”. Stop! What am I thinking? Back to Jesus…”Jesus, Jesus…”. The chanting continued.
4:30. “Jesus, Jesus…BTW, I really like some lemonade. It would be nice to have that during this afternoon…Jesus, Jesus. But where do I get lemonade. I think water is good enough. But I am also hungry…Jesus, Jesus…I want something to eat….Jesus…I want something to eat, I want something to eat.”
Before my grandpa realized, Jesus slipped out of his mind and the unbearable hunger and thirst took over. He tried sitting continuing his tapasya. But he just could not. He stood up and darted down the mountain. Before anyone could know, he was at the foot hills of the mountain. One great sprint that was. I am sure he would have broken the 1929 world record in sprint and long distance running at that time! As he reached the bottom of the mountain, he saw a fruit vendor. My life savior he thought. He searched all his pockets. Luckily, he got one anna (yes, that was the currency in circulation at that time). He ran to the fruit vendor and gave him the money and without even seeing what the fruit was, he devoured all the fruits that the vendor gave. He also found a tap close by. As soon as he was done eating, he drank water from the tap. Phew….Now, this is nice, said the young man! He was able to breathe again. Full tummy. Wow. Life is good again, he thought and sat there for a few minutes, relaxing. As he stood up, he could see the mountain top on one side. On the other side, he could see his house. He looked at the mountain once more and towards the house once more. He knew which way he had to go!