From Potential To Being
What transforms a seed to a seedling? A seedling to a plant, a plant to a tree? What is that which brings about this natural growth?
That which exists forever. That which is changeless. That which was in the past. Is here in the present and will be in the future, is Real.
The reality of a human being is not just limited to the body, mind and intellect. Every human, every creature, is a combination of the ever-changing matter vestures. As well as the ever changeless principal within. This very existing principal, present within at all times enables us. It lets us see, hear, act and experience. Without which neither the body, mind or intellect can function. This enabling principle is in us and in all. It is in the sun, the moon, the stars and the entire galaxy.
Therefore, this very changeless aspect, which is present everywhere, essentially makes us one.
We humans have given this reality many names. Some say ‘God’, some ‘Allah’ some ‘Ram’ and so many more.
It doesn’t matter what name we give. What matters is that we realise this eternal Truth.
The earth has been blessed with the presence of many great ones. The saints, sages, wise ancestors have time and again shared their wisdom. They shared with humanity this ‘Truth Principle’.
Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji composed a beautiful prayer called Japji Sahib. Every word of this prayer praises this true essence in all.
“Ek onkar satnam kartapurakh
Nirmoh nirvair akaal murat
Guru parsad jap aad sach jugaad sach
Hai bhi sach nanak hose bhi sach”
“There is One Truth, present in every manifest and unmanifest forms. This is the True name. This Truth is the very cause, enabler and sole doer of all creations. It is without fear, without enmity. It exists beyond the realm of time. Is beyond birth. Is Self-existing. With the Guru’s grace, this Truth is apprehended.”
When expressing this Truth to humanity, the great saints and sages have often used the term “I” and “Me”.
In The Bhagavad Gita, Sri Krishna poetically expresses this ever existing oneness.
Chapter ten of this evergreen literature is titled Vibhuti Yoga. It means the yoga of supreme manifestation. Krishna essentially shares that ‘Brahman’ is the very source of this world. Meaning, the Truth is the very source of this world of forms and beings.
Here is a verse from chapter 10, verse 39.
” yac chapi sarva-bhutanam
bijam tad aham arjuna
na tad asti vina yat syan
maya bhutam characharam”
It translates as, ” I am that which is the seed in all beings, O Arjuna. There is no creature moving or unmoving that can exist without Me.”
In this verse, Krishna does not refer to the personality Krishna when using the term ‘I’ or ‘Me’.
Rather the ‘I’ and ‘Me’ refer to the Truth, the all-pervading reality.
Take an example of Gold. Gold is a precious metal. From gold one could create many things like a necklace, ring, bracelet and a pot.
We can now differentiate between each gold item.
What would happen if all the items are melted? What would remain? Only gold. The items that were created from gold does not exist after the melting process. What exists is only gold. Without gold, there could be no items in the first place.
Similarly, all the beings in all the forms are born, supported by this all-pervading Truth.
We humans must wonder. How did these great souls come to know this Truth? They must have gone through something that transformed them from a human to becoming a saint. Thereby sharing a great legacy of humanity.
How did Siddhartha Gautama transform to Gautama Buddha?
How did Kalidas transform into Mahakavi Kalidas?
How did Ratnakara become Maharishi Valmiki?
The Vedic Puranas share many such inspiring stories of transformation.
Siddhartha was a youth who questioned his existence when he observed his surroundings. He identified with others and wanted to know the purpose of being born. This desire was so strong that it led him to numerous life experiences. Teaching him, leading him to become Truth incarnate, Buddha.
Kalidas was a pure innocent soul. He was just an average young lad with no seeming talent. He was ridiculed by his wife for being dumb and dull. Hurt and dejected he prayed for help and yearned to be better. The goddess then blessed him with glorifying talents. He then transformed into Maha Kavi Kalidas. Being the most revered literary exponents through many centuries.
Ratnakara was a cruel dacoit. His only duty was to kill and loot people who passed through the wild jungles. One day sage Narada was passing by this wood. He asked Ratnakar why he was engaging in such sinful acts. Ratnakar bluntly replied,”For my family. I am responsible to feed them. So I loot people’s wealth and run my family.” Hearing this Narada asked him, ” You do this for your family. Will your family share your sins?”
Ratnakar came out of his delusional state when his family plainly refused to share his sins. Ratnakar then realised his error. He repented and asked Narada for guidance. He wanted to be free now.
That was it, Narada guided him to take the lords name. He asked him to chant the name of Ram. Ratnakar couldn’t. He could not pronounce Ram. It was to difficult for him. So Narada then suggested him to say the name in the reverse order.
“Mara Mara Mara”, uttered Ratnakar with love and faith. He chanted the Lord’s name for many centuries. His body was filled with termites but he never stopped.
Seeing his intense dedication and willingness to be free, he was blessed to become Maharishi Valmiki.
He was named Valmiki because at the time of his transformation he was covered with termites. Termites in Sanskrit is called Valmik.
Maharishi Valmiki went on then to narrate the epic Ramayana to share with humanity.
This story shows us how each one of us has this potential of greatness in us. No matter how many mistakes we have made, how many errors we have done. We do have a choice and we can choose again. It is in a human body that we can truly transform to becoming our best selves, our true selves. Then we truly fulfil the purpose of our life.
In history, we can find many such stories of simple ordinary humans who desired to know the truth of life. They went on their individual journeys, never stopped and came to experience this Truth principal in them.
The process of becoming our True Selves is transformation. It is not mere changing but rather it is a becoming. One cannot transform by themselves but only through the grace of this Truth principal.
When a little bit of curd is added to warm milk and is kept aside for a few hours, the entire milk transforms into curd.
A caterpillar on the ground with no wings or colour patiently goes through the process of becoming a butterfly.
Now with wings, with beautiful colour patterns, the butterfly is ready to fly.
Curd can never turn back into the milk. The butterfly can never turn back into a caterpillar. This is transforming from within.
It is the highest intelligence in nature that demonstrates, gives many examples, of this inner engineering. The natural process that occurs in all.
The purpose of human life is to discover and become our True Self. Every human being is given an equal opportunity to reach this meaningful goal in their lifetime. The only thing that is asked of a human is the willingness to transform. The willingness to correct oneself.
A simple genuine way to start on this journey is to question oneself. How can I be a better human? On a ladder from 1 to 10 where do I stand as a human being?
One could be on step one, and another could be on step seven. Where one is on the ladder, does not matter. What matters is the direction. As long as one is going up the ladder. Become a better human day by day, every day. This effort will surely bring one to experience a complete transformation within.
Will the journey of inner transformation be rosy? Maybe not. This is because any process of growth entails challenges. It involves a certain amount of friction. So, know that you are on the right path if you are presented with challenges.
Being willing to face them and overcome them by doing the right thing is the process of growth.
Be open to receiving guidance. Be aware that one is not alone in this. Knowing this one can certainly go within with ease and full of grace.
Rumi the mystic poet beautiful expresses this journey of inner transformation within.
He says, “There is no need to go outside. Be melting snow, wash yourself in yourself.”
The journey of transformation is really a calling to go within oneself. An experience not in the realm of time. In the Holy Bible, Jesus refers to knocking at the door. He points out to humanity that the Kingdom of God is within.
So we must then re-learn to look. Not outside but within us.
Inner reflection, contemplation and enquiry are essential to a human being. One who seeks the truth must seek within.
Who am I? Am I this body? Or am I these feelings and emotions? Am I this knowledge that I have acquired? Or am I these various roles that I play in life?
Negating the false through this inner inquiry helps to let go of the false. What then remains is nothing but the Truth.
The ancient Vedas express this human sentiment through this great invocation~
“Asato maa sat gamaya
Tamaso maa jyotir gamaya
Mrityor maa amritam gamaya
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti”
It translates like this.
“Lead me oh Lord from the False to the Truth.
Lead me oh Lord from darkness to light.
Lead me oh Lord from mortality to immortality.
Om peace peace peace.”
This prayer expresses the sentiment of a human who seeks to be free from all bondages. He rejects the false. Is ready to merge with the light within.
Every moment he thinks of this Truth principle. He only wants to be in the presence of this Reality. The pure human only has one objective. To get back to his original home.
He prays earnestly and never stops. Just like a flowing river.
The river runs dynamically. Generates power as it tirelessly moves towards the ocean. It’s objective only is to merge with the ocean.
Similarly, the heart of the pure human who wills to merge with the Truth is firmly devout. Nothing else matters. His sole objective is to be one with this Truth principle. Praying to be free from this unreal world. Waiting to revel in the wisdom of this graceful Truth.
And does the prayer get answered? Yes. It does. History stands witness to this. Our hearts know this. That which enables us to be to do to experience is very much here. It is witnessing every bit of us. How can the prayers of an earnest heart be unheard? This is never possible. When the right time comes there is not a single moments delay.
There is a wonderful imaginary story sharing a beautiful message. Two best friends loved all creatures of the world. One day they got to visit the heavenly realms. They came to the door of heaven. One friend knocked on the door but there was no answer. The other friend knocked and God opened the door immediately. God smiled and this friend was invited into God’s Kingdom immediately.
Seeing only his friend taken in, the other friend was sad. He was happy that his friend got in but he too wanted to go. He then resolved not to leave. He waited devoutly at the door for a very long time.
Then to his surprise, in divine time the door opened by itself. God appeared. He hugged him and held his hand. Inviting him into His Kingdom.
There was a lavish meal spread out for him.
As they sat to eat, the good human asked, “What took you so long to come and get me?
God then smiled. He took a piece of bread and fed him with love.
The taste was so supreme. This pure human was full of gratitude, love and joy. God then replied, “I knew you were hungry, I took time to make fresh bread just for you.”
We must utterly commit to becoming better as humans. Trust and be patient with the process of this divine inner transformation. Cheerfully waiting at the door for our turn.