On Moksha

Sannyasi Shivadhyanam

The young ascetic, brimming with eagerness and resolve,
approached the Master and thus asked . . .

“O Exalted One! Pray! tell me how Moksha is to be obtained,
attaining which, they say nothing more is left to be gained.”

The Master (like all Masters) just sat there
and smiled a mysterious, inscrutable smile.
And then, thus did he speak.

“Moksha is not a fruit to be plucked from this fig tree,
Nor is it the water that can be drawn from yonder well.
Mark my words, O zealous youth! and listen well . . .

What is this Moksha, this salvation,
that you so casually speak of?
Trivial in essence yet impossible to grasp.

For some, it is the rendezvous Divine,
a meeting with God, in person and face to face.

The nautically inclined call it ‘the crossing’,
the crossing that ends all mortal suffering,
the crossing over to samsara’s other shore.

Others know it as the experience of unspeakable bliss,
Yet others define it as desirelessness . . .

The definitions matter hardly, for paradoxical indeed is Moksha, the state of utter desirelessness.
Desiring it, one attains it not.
Rejecting it, further away does it slip . . .”

“Is Moksha’s pursuit in vain indeed?”
cried the youth, much aggrieved,
his cherished ambition melting into oblivion.

“Not quite,” chuckled the Master, a trifle amused.
Then turning solemn, he continued . . .

“Extend your Self. Expand your heart.
Work for the salvation of others and lo! by itself
yours shall be taken care of.

Love the forsaken. Give to the needy.
Tend the sick and feed the hungry.
Immerse yourself in service to such an extreme degree
that if King Moksha himself were to drop in per chance,
he’d get no more than a passing glance . . .

When you’ve seen the light of God
shining in your neighbour’s face,
Does it really matter whether you kept your tryst with God
and met him face to face . . .

When the poignant suffering of the world
has overwhelmed you completely,
does the dream of personal bliss hold any further promise?

Pray! What need of Moksha for the person
who has verily become Moksha’s dispenser.
To One who hath become the boatman
it’s the ferrying alone that matters.
To Him One shore is as good as the other . . . “