“There is no authority that is the Truth. Truth is the only authority.”
Through the ages, the lives of saints and sages have demonstrated wisdom, love and courage that have appeared extraordinary to ‘regular folk’. On the occasion of Christmas, it is fitting to remember the remarkable example of Christ’s life in walking the Truth. Christ’s “sacrifice” on the cross was as fearless as his challenge to the established religion and priesthoods of the day. We may sometimes assume that those walking the path of devotion were moving about as love-drunk mystics, oblivious to the world around them but in doing so we miss the aspect of their lives that showed a radical fearlessness in challenging systems of established authority at the time.
In a recent exchange with a reader on Meera Bai’s life, I was drawn to contemplate more deeply on Meera Bai’s opposition to the patriarchy of her time and her character, consequently, as a “strong woman”. I feel that Meera Bai most likely had no idea that she was being a “strong woman” or opposing anything at all but one living in intense devotion would naturally go about upsetting status-quos because they’re not taking direction from human values, norms or logic, but instead, moving in the way of the Spirit.
Such an effortless strength and fearlessness can only arise in a totally surrendered state where only the will of God is relied upon. One’s own ideas, ways, even life is not considered important anymore and such a one then becomes an instrument of the Divine to move in bold ways and raise and break systems that no human being in his own power could. Mahatma Gandhi is another example of a being who going by quiet inner direction, managed to turn events in his favour and achieve what looked impossible to most.
All these beings, from Christ to Meera Bai to Gandhi were gentle beings but moving in radical ways. Wrecking systems without personal intention and demonstrating the power that stood with them when they surrendered totally their personal will.
Perhaps a glimpse into a moment of inner turmoil they might have experienced, shows up as Arjuna’s predicament at the start of the Bhagavad Gita. For a moment, they may have faltered and doubted themselves and their devotion. Like Arjuna, maybe Meera Bai too for a moment wondered while leaving her husband and in-laws, “but what about human ties and emotions?” As Christ also for a moment on the cross cried out “My Lord, have you forsaken me?”
Then it must be that none other than the Lord himself spoke to them to remind them, “It’s not ‘you’ fighting this war….It is ‘I’”.
Where is the place for personal will? As one of my favourite lines from the bible goes:
“Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the son of man has nowhere to rest his head.”
[After writing this piece, it also came to my attention that today is coincidentally also being celebrated as “Gita Divas” or the day that Lord Krishna is believed to have spoken the Gita to Arjuna. I feel the comparisons noted above to be even more apt! Gratitude_/\_]Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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