Tuesday, April 3, 2012

In Search of Peace Chapter 1

CHAPTER - 1


Mind suddenly awoke at mid night. He got thirsty and sipped some water. He found that his wife along with two sons was sleeping blissfully in the next room. He saw a very horrible dream. The city of Pride, where he was staying, was being destroyed engulfed in a savage fire. He recalled – when he came to this city twenty years ago, it was less populated and prospered with lush greeneries. Everyone was enjoying good acquaintance with his neighbour and there were cordial relationships among the inhabitants. Though a small city, it was vivacious. They used to share every moment of happiness and grief willingly among themselves. But the things have changed now. Strange people have started staying in the city, and the city has become glamorous with the wealthy folks getting into it and exhibiting their prosperity and luxuries. Cordiality started perishing and a type of bickering has taken place among the inhabitants.

Mind was a scholarly person who had a lot of knowledge about religious matters. He gained this knowledge by profuse studies of various religious books. But he was miserably lacking in his life monetarily. However, he was not at all bothered about his lazarous condition. Despite his wife’s everyday’s nagging persecution, he never left honesty in life. He continued with the same ideology and even tried to percolate the same to his wife and two adolescent sons. But they always turned deaf ears to his words. Mind, by nature, was a docile, amiable and loving person who always liked to solve others’ problems though he himself lacks in life. His knowledge made him lead a life of righteousness.

He was so disturbed with the dream that he started weeping and woke his wife up at midnight. He narrated the dream to her. His wife showed congeniality in the beginning, but when Mind kept describing the same story repeatedly, she became enraged and pushed him back and slept. Mind could not close his eyes but stared at the sky through window. A torrential rain in the night made the atmosphere quite pleasant. But Mind was not having piece in within. He again wished to wake his wife up to ask her to accompany him to leave the city of Pride. But seeing his wife in a deep sleep, he did not dare to do so, but sat with a sullen face. He was trying to find means to appease the Almighty to save the city.

Mind was not able to sleep throughout the night. It was dawn the next day. He woke his wife up and again started narrating his inauspicious dream. His wife tolerated for a while, but after sometime suspected about the authenticity of his dream. She asked her sons to pacify their father. Both the sons explained to him that the dream is a fallacy. Nothing would happen to the city. They asked their father to complete his morning rituals and proceed for Puja, which was his profession. Without any further arguments, he freshened himself and left for Vainglory’s place where he was supposed to perform an inaugural ceremony puja of his bungalow.

Vainglory recently purchased it which was furnished with Italian marbles, Belgium glasses, Egyptian carpets and other fixtures from France. When Mind reached there, Vainglory was busy to show these things to everyone. He claimed that he was the richest person in the locality. Pride, who was hitherto the richest person in the locality, could not tolerate Vainglory’s circumlocution and engaged in wrangling with him at the inaugural ceremony where he was also invited with many others from the locality. Mind was performing Puja with complete devotion but the tremendous hue and cry distracted his attention. However, he completed the Puja. When the quarrel between Vainglory and Pride intensified, Mind just interfered and tried to console both of them. Vainglory suddenly got frustrated with unwanted meddling of Mind and shouted at him.

“What do you think? Just by studying some religious books, you think would teach me your so called edification?”

Mind was completely off guarded and started mumbling, “No sir, I am just pleading both of you to stop quarrels at the place of Puja in front of God. Don’t mistake me. What is my authority to adjudicate you? You are such a wealthy person; you know what is good and what is bad very well.”

“Ok, Ok, don’t try to be too smart before the persons of rich inheritance.” Vainglory shouted at Mind.

Mind felt so insulted in front of a big gathering that he could not control his tears and left the place abruptly. His friend, Godlover, another Brahmin from his locality, went after him. He was the only person who used to adore Mind’s magnanimity and thoughts for others’ wellness.

Mind walked so hurriedly that Godlover had to run to catch him. He panted and forced Mind to express his feelings.

“Have you not seen how they insulted me? I am a poor Brahmin and lack monetary power. Despite this, a lot of people respect me; it is because they find some good virtues in me. Look at this gentleman, Mr. Vainglory. The way he prides, I feel his character is influenced by satanic demeanour,” Mind expressed his situation.
“Leave the matter brother; these are the breeds of haughty wealthy people. They exercise power of their money everywhere. They lead their lives under the influence of materialistic values. Their inner self is pervaded by their outer self which is totally controlled by the power of their wealth. What is their wisdom to evaluate your erudition? Don’t take their words seriously,” Godlover pacified him.

“In fact, friend, I am no more interested in staying in this city. When I took my small abode here, there was a scenic beauty of this city. The whole area was covered with greeneries. There were no hustles and bustles. People were very helpful and always eager to serve others. The environment was very peaceful and cordial. You are also aware about this. But, today there inhibit grouchy people in the big palatial buildings; noises of swanky cars passing one after another make life miserable; everyone seems to be acting to overpower the other. I don’t like this demeanour in social behavior and so I have decided to leave this city,” Mind expressed his wish to his closest friend.

“If people like you leave this place, its charm will flee away and the city of Pride would become a abode of devils. Don’t take hasty decision just because of today’s stray incident,” Godlover further pleaded.

“No, No, it is not because of today’s incident. In fact, I saw a terrible dream yesterday night and I was about to tell you the same. I saw that God’s wrath, in the form of thundershower, lighting and fire, was poured on this city and the city was being destroyed. No one survived. But amidst my surprise, I saw that God was calling me to His place at Celestial City. Now, I have to obey His call, because I don’t want to invite His wrath by disobeying his will. I have narrated this dream to my family members also. But, they suspected that I have gone lunatic,” Mind said.

“But, you have a charming wife and grown up children. How will they sustain without your able support?”

“Everything is God’s creation. I request them to accompany me; if they don’t, they have to face the consequences. But, it looks neither I am able to turn their minds nor be able to disobey God’s will,” Mind poured his heart before Godlover.

“Then, I will also join your this great endevour,” Godlover expressed his wish.

“I have no objection. But remember that the way to reach Celestial city is full of thorns, I believe. If you are able to endure the pain blissfully, you are most welcome. It will be my privilege to take my bosom friend as my entourage,” Mind accepts Godlover’s wish to join him to the journey of Celestial City.

Mind hesitantly entered his room with a dejection of today’s incidents. He expressed his reluctance to stay in this city any more to his spouse and children. His wife and two sons concluded that either he became bedlamite or he was too tired and wretched. But, mind ignored their mockery and invective comments. He simply took the book which he always kept with him as the only companion of him for the ensuing journey. His wife and sons requested him not to leave, but he turned a deaf ear to their requests. Godlover was waiting for him. Mind’s another friend, Easygoing, also showed his will to join him. Mind enlightened him about the pain-staking route of the journey. When he was persistent to join, Mind nodded and started the journey.

“In which direction we have to go, have you any idea?” Godlover enquired. Mind said no.

However, they started off for the journey. After a long travel, they were almost tired and decided to take some rest. All of them lied down on green pasture and slept there. But, a huge rumbling and grumbling of lightening and rainfall made them awake. When the intensity of the rain was severe they took shelter under a bough. Very soon, they observed that the pastures were getting water-clogged, and the level of water was rising drastically due to heavy rain which came to the neck-height. They were about to drown. Mind prayed to God with the book in one hand raised high above the water level. It seemed that Mind’s prayer was heard and rain gradually stopped. The water clogged in the pasture flowed away by the dawn. They were so tired that stepping a bit ahead became difficult for them. It was a nightmare for Easygoing because he was not accustomed to such a discomfort. In fact, he believed in achieving everything very easily. When he found that the beginning of the journey was so catastrophic, how would be the way ahead. He was pondering about the correctness of his decision to join Mind.

After eating fresh grapes and vine, which had been plenty around the pasture, they contemplated to proceed further. When it was almost dark, they came near a high mountain which was emitting fire at periodic intervals on the peak. The mountain was so straight that it was next to impossible for anyone to climb and cross it. Mind thought that Celestial City must be on the other side of the mountain. They did not find anyone in that no-man’s-land there. Mind took a little diversion and his friends followed him. After an hour of walking, they came near a sloppy area. It was completely dark. They misunderstood the slope which was nothing but a marshy land full of mire and rotten ingredients. In an effort to go ahead, all of them fell in it and were bedaubed with dirt and mire. The dirt was so sticky that they were almost wallowing to come out from the marsh. After a great difficulty, they were able to extricate themselves from the slough of the ditch. Easygoing, seeing the obnoxious situation, immediately decided to abandon the journey and return home.

“If the journey in the beginning is full of so much so thistles, how terrific it would be ahead! Getting to Celestial City after so many sufferings absolutely seems illogical to me. And I have my own doubt whether any place by that name really exists there. It is foolishness to undertake such a painstaking venture on a fallacy and imagination,” Easygoing told Mind with a sarcastic smile and a little frustration.

“To reach God’s place is not so easy. As per Calvinist, God only helps them who are willing to shoulder strain and stress. I informed you in the beginning itself that it is not so easy to start out for this mission. To reach God’s place, you need perseverance, courage and enough conviction,” Mind retorted with a very friendly tone.

Godlover also appealed Easygoing to stay with them. He told that nothing can be achieved by a person who does not bear the brunt of troubles. Easygoing, by the time, took a turn towards his house and Mind advised Godlover not to pursue him anymore.

Mind said that he knew Easygoing from the very beginning. He belongs to the category of people who want to achieve more by fewer efforts. It is very difficult to satisfy the needs of such people. Mind did not get perturbed because he was quite aware about Easygoing’s ideology. He asked Godlover to follow him to search a pond or a brook. They were lucky to find natural waterfalls there amidst a hilly area. Both of them washed their clothes which were thickly miry and took a bath. They waited for a while to get their clothes dry. Then, they ate some fruits left with them and quenched their thirst with fresh water from the falls. Mind was looking here and there. All the area was covered with greeneries and big boughs. He there found a flock of shepherds busy in grazing their cattle without bothering about the presence of Mind and Godlover.

Mind enquired about celestial city with one of the shepherds. He did not reply except saying that the pastures where they are grazing belong to a king by name Kindness. At the end of the pastures, there was a hut which was made by the King for the pilgrims to take rest. But, the shepherd was not aware of existence of any Celestial City.

After sometime, because of excessive fatigue, both Mind and Godlover decided to proceed to the hut and to take rest. After reaching there, they found that the hut was barricaded, and there were plenty of roses at one side of the hut and the other side was full of fruits like grapes, mangoes, strawberries and raspberries. Mind and Godlover plucked variety of fruits and ate them. They lied down on the grass in the shadow of a tree and soon started snoring. When they woke up, it was completely dark and so decided to stay there for the night. In the morning, some shepherds visited them and offered dry fruits and grapes to them. Then the shepherds took them to one end of the pasture to show a ditch downward. They also informed that while crossing this pasture many pilgrims fell in the ditch under influence of evil powers. In fact, the shepherds showed them some skeletons lying deep in the ditch. Mind and Godlover decided to leave the place immediately without much discourse with them. After walking a long distance, they reached a triangle and got into a dilemma about which route to follow ahead for a further journey. Mind was little bit nervous. Then he found a middle-aged person there passing by them who was attired completely in a white robe. He smiled and greeted both Mind and Godlover.

“Why do you look depressed and worried on this fine morning, my children?” the middle-aged person inquired with due concern.

Mind abruptly started giving their introduction, informing about the dream he saw and about the journey they have undertaken to the middle-aged man.

“Sir, we belong to the city of Pride and are pilgrims to Celestial City. One day, I saw in my dream that the city of Pride is engulfed in lightening and fire due to wrath of God. I saw that God was so furious with the residents of the city of Pride for their mirth, gaiety and rebellious conduct that He decided to destroy the city completely. And further, I saw that God called me to Celestial City.”

The middle-aged person heard this tale with attention and kept mum for a while and then said, “OK, that’s fine. But, tell me what this book you are carrying is?”

“This book, I believe gives me courage and conviction to combat evils.”

The middle-aged man, giving his introduction, said, “Anyway, my name is Margdarshak. I guide people to the right direction to help them lead a righteous life.”

“Sir, would you be kind enough to show us the way to Celestial City?” Mind expectedly asked Margdarshak.

Margdarshak said, “You are in the wrong direction, my children. Take a turn to the left and then cross a small knee-deep brook, and you will find a mountainous path ahead. You have to pass a narrow way on the mountain, and after a short distance, you will arrive at a big iron gate. Just knock the gate and you will come to know rest of the things.”

Mind followed his instructions verbatim, but he could not found the gate. Godlover was wandering whether they had taken a right way. A tall man with peculiar countenance appeared there. Seeing him, Mind was bit elated and enquired about the celestial gate with him.

“Why are you in this path?” he enquired.

“We are guided by Margdarshak,” replied Mind.

“No, you have to take just an opposite route from here,” the tall man guided.

Both, Mind and Godlover again were caught into a puzzle. By the time they were discussing among themselves, the black coloured tall person, disappeared. Anyway, as per guidance given by the tall man, Mind and Godlover took an opposite route. But, this time, they arrived at the same mountain which was emitting fire. After close examination, they found that it was next to impossible to cross the said mountain.
To be contd.............
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