Vraja Bihari Das

“Adventure is not outside man; it is within”

– George Eliot (leading English author of the nineteenth century)

Uday, my neighbour, and a connoisseur of good music, rose early each day, and played on his Bose speakers the soothing Call of the Valley.  Pandit Shivkumar Sharma’s santoor and Hariprasad Chaurasia’s flute transported his soul to a spiritual realm. Later in the afternoon his speakers blasted romantic Bollywood songs where lovers swore undying allegiance to each other. After 8.00 pm he played AC/DC’s Highway to hell. He confessed that heavy metal and hard rock gives vent to his animal within. He’d gulp a few pegs of whisky and swoon in honour of Bon Scott, the lead singer who within months of recording this song, died after a night of heavy boozing.

One evening, as I silently meditated on the terrace of our ashram, he waved to me spiritedly. I acknowledged him even as I continued chanting softly on my prayer beads. He shouted from his balcony that he had seen me chant in the mornings as well and wondered what it is all about. We soon became friends; Uday shared his passion for music and also enquired about my spiritual practises.

One day I shared with him the science of improving our awareness by recognizing the three invisible ropes that control our lives. He was curious and I suggested an experiment.

I asked him to play his favourite rock and roll or Bollywood numbers early in the morning. And at night when his ‘animal’ demands to experience the shrill screams of Robert Plant or Suzi Quatro, he could instead play soft Hindustani classical. He was game, although amused at my proposal.

After two days of the musical swap he confessed it was a miserable experience; he just couldn’t get the same rhythm and feel. I probed what was wrong. “It’s just not the same” he said, unable to explain further.

Know the three energies

I offered an explanation: could it be that the morning hours are surcharged with an energy that helps us connect to a deeper, spiritual self of our existence.  If we go for a walk during predawn hours, we’d likely feel a general sense of wellbeing and fresh and serene at the sight of the sunrise. Afternoons however are imbued with the vigour of action and passion; the stock markets are hyperactive, the roads, offices and markets see a flurry of activity. And nights carry a force of darkness that helps our bodies rest in ignorance.

These three energies exist in nature: Goodness, (also known as Sattva in Sanskrit), Passion (Rajas) and Ignorance (Tamas).To be continued…


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