By Anahita Sanjana
In this sensitive short story, Anahita Sanjana describes the moment of discovering that the Creator is everywhere
The road ahead is long. A harsh sun pelts down a rain of scalding sunshine. Astha curses the black haversack burning her back as if it were a block of smouldering charcoal.
“Ouch, that hurts,” she heard a husky voice call out to her. She wheeled around but only the still parched landscape met her gaze.
“Your constant cursing does hurt me but I realize it hurts you more,” the voice continued.
Astha flung the bag on to the mud as she realized with a start that the voice was coming from the bag.
“Voices! Those voices again!” Astha screamed. “Will they ever leave me?”
Images flashed past Astha’s mind. The bearded doctor in a white coat giving her a painful injection. Her parents in hushed tones talking about a disease called schizophrenia. Her mother wiping a tear from her eye as Astha tried to describe what the tap in her bathroom had just told her.
“Look here,” the bag spoke. “Why don’t you just stop running away and listen to me for a minute.”
Astha slumped down to the floor holding her head in frustrated resignation.
“You resist carrying me but because of me your journey is possible. You need water, food, tissue, anything, and I am there. Because of me you can still hope to meet Gold.”
Shutting her eyes Astha recollected Gold. Funny that she called her Gold because she had never seen her to know her color. Yet, Gold was without doubt the deepest experience that Astha had ever had. Gold had spoken to her without words as none of the screaming voices ever could. Gold had cocooned her in a bubble of peace when the world had attacked her with abuses, admonitions and predictions of doom. Gold was the name Astha gave to those touchless arms that unfailingly stole in to hold her every time she thought she was falling apart.
Early that morning, Astha had awoken to a beautiful sunrise. Wearing sunshine as raiment and dewdrops as jewels, Gold had beckoned to her that morning. In the early hours of the dawn taking her haversack as her sole companion, Astha had crept out of her parents’ palatial house.
“You curse not only me,” continued the bag, “You curse everything! When you walk you resist walking and think only about when you will reach your destination. When you speak to your friends you are waiting for the conversation to end. You are waiting for everything to end because you think that by escaping everything you will find Gold.”
“Well, why not?” Astha cried indignantly. “Gold only speaks to me when I am alone.”
“Wrong!” cried the bag. “Gold speaks to you when you are not looking for her to the point of turning your back on everything else. Gold speaks to you when you drop resistance to what is.”
The whirlwind of her thoughts muted down to stillness as the impact of the words hit Astha.
“Across the awful march no eye can see,
Barring its dreadful route no will can change,
She faced the engines of the universe,
A heart stood in the way of the driving wheels.
Its giant workings paused in front of a
Its stark conventions met the flame of a
– Savitri, Page 20 (Sri Aurobindo)
Held in the grip of an attentive silence, with ears that were everywhere in her being, Astha listened and Gold spoke. She spoke from the cracked parched earth and from the dying trickle of water that ran as its tear. She spoke from the depths of the sky and the heights of the earth. She spoke soundlessly and infinitely…
Astha picked up the black haversack with a smile. As its hot surface warmed her back. Astha felt Gold even in the heat. Having lost the heaviness of purpose her steps glided lightly on the earth. There was no Gold towards whom she could hurry. Gold was everywhere. The journey to Gold consisted of only one step, stepping out of resistance and into allowing.
“One step and all is sky and God”
– Sri Aurobindo
The familiar sensation of pain in her shoulders arose a few minutes into carrying the haversack but with it came the unfamiliar yet delightful sensing that Gold was in the ache too. Nothing could be a burden for Astha anymore. Gold had alchemised everything Astha used to call a burden into a labor of love!
There was no more waiting to find Gold as Gold revealed herself to be infinity stretching into one seamless event.
Astha felt the haversack on her back, knowing that she would never hear it speak again! None but Gold would speak to her now.
“At once she was the stillness and the word,
A continent of self diffusing peace,
An ocean of untrembling virgin fire;
The strength, the silence of the Gods were hers”
About the author
Anahita Sanjana is a disciple of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo. She teaches hatha yoga in the light of their teachings in schools in Mumbai and also holds classes for adults.
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