I am definitely not an atheist but I am also not “an old man in Vanaprastha”. Meaning of Vanaprastha is part of the Vedic ashram system, which starts when a person hands over household responsibilities to the next generation, takes an advisory role, and gradually withdraws from the world.This stage typically follows Grihastha (householder), but a man or woman may choose to skip householder stage, and enter Vanaprastha directly after Brahmacharya (student) stage, as a prelude to Sanyasa (ascetic) and spiritual pursuits.
During Vanaprastha the theory says that you withdraw from this world and try and pursue spiritual Nirvana. Everybody’s ideas of Nirvana are different. But in this pursuit some become staunch, overly focused on achieving their Nirvana, others be damned.
I am 66 years young and by various definitions fall in the category of Vanaprastha group! I am a professional still running my consulting and software business. I am explaining this background a little more in details than I like but with a reason. I only want say that I am writing this piece in a balanced manner.
My favourite time of the day is evening when I and my wife take our Grand Daughter Rhea to Mandir or a Garden. In the Mandir I observe various groups of Vanaprasthaites! Some pursue their goals by being with the deities, bow to them, and sing their hymns. After that some sit in the Mandir and meet other co pursuers. Others rush back to where ever they want to rush. Most youngsters are in a hurry to do everything anyway! Some meet in a group and discuss their daily tidbits and have a little enjoyment and take the life forward.
Some meet in groups and sing some hymns, sometimes in loud voices. Sometimes Bhagwad Geeta Pathan takes places. Sometimes reading of things of religious writings happens. Now the issue starts. This is a public Mandir and all of us have freedom to do what we want to do within the normal social norms! Generally we tolerate each other but this group has a peculiar thinking. We were enjoying our granddaughter doing whatever two year plus kids do when they get space and place. She was just running around in gay abandon! After some time, couple of more kids joined and the fun started. They were all enjoying chasing each other and within 5/10 minutes their shouting decibels started going up. I told my wife that I see God every day when these kids are having innocent fun!
When the decibel levels went above the decibels levels created by the senior group reading or singing of whatever they were doing, one of the pursuers of Nirvana shouted at my God and told the kids to be silent! My God is laughing and shouting group of children. Nirvana pursuers were so engrossed in “meeting” HIM through their own methods, that they were blind to the “running God”! The innocent children just stopped laughing and rushed back to their families with a small face. I wanted to confront the Nirvana group but I was hoping that what had happened was an aberration.
After ten minutes we started getting ready to go home. For my granddaughter, every event is fun event and there are always negotiations going on! Therre is so much fun when she comes with different arguments every time. During this discussion about wearing shoes, more than 20 meters away from where Nirvana group was sitting, one young old man like me joined our “serious” discussion about whether right shoe should be worn first or the left one! My granddaughter made some funny statement which made all of us laugh.
Now the issue really started. The Nirvana group shouted at us “keep silence please!” Oh, I am sorry we did not know that they were almost on the verge of achieving Nirvana. I simply asked them one question, “Do you have Monopoly in this Mandir?” For which they had no answer. Questions started coming to mind how we become blind when we single mindedly try and pursue something imaginary, when you have the free replacement, in the form kids having fun, in front of you? Sometimes this Nirvana groups’ decibel levels go up so high that it is impossible to sit in the Mandir. I don’t go and tell them so because I know that they are blind to everything else in their pursuit of Nirvana. I don’t want same courtesy from them to me but when it comes to shouting at kids who are enjoying……
Well I leave it you friends!