Published in ‘The Speaking Tree’ on April 28, 2013, widely acclaimed painter Pratiksha writes about perfection being a myth, while totality is reality.
There is an intricate relationship between an act and the end result. We always want to have a perfect result for whatever we do, without losing ourselves in the act. Is such an act possible? To understand the fine difference, it is important to examine ‘perfection’ and ‘totality’. Although for many people, perfection is the ultimate goal, it is nothing less than illusion or myth; something which is nonexistent. We are attracted by the very idea of perfection, not realising that it is like a disease which is dangerous and destructive. If not for our obsession with perfection, our action could open the door to a beautiful spiritual journey.
Whatever you do, just pour your heart in it, do it with totality. The Bhagawad Gita says that karma is enjoyable if the heart is involved in it. Then there is no karma and kerta; both melt and become one. That is totality. Perfection is myth, while totality is reality.
Perfection is a goal somewhere in the future while totality is an experience this very moment, in which your act is transformed into meditation and a beautiful prayer descends in your heart. In fact, there is not future reference or goal for totality; only a routine life style albeit soaked in spiritual fragrance.
If you do any work or any act with your whole heart, then you are total, then you are walking on the same path which Kabir and Ravidas chose.
The whole idea is to ‘be total’ in everything that you are doing. It doesn’t matter what you do, whether you are making clothes like Kabir or shoes like Ravidas, or cooking food or working on a new design for most advanced spacecraft, or cleaning the floor. The job is immaterial. The focus is that doing is with totality, which is the only way to transform the act into meditation and to transform the doing into a beautiful prayer.
The founder of Tantra vision, Saraha, born two centuries after Gautama Buddha in Vidarbha didstrict, Maharashtra, later became a disciple of Skri Kirti, a Buddhist saint and disciple of Buddha’s son Rahul Bhadra. Saraha, along with his father and four brothers, spent some time in the court of King Mahapala and he was particularly popular among his brothers for his knowledge of the Vedas.
After some time, the Brahmin Saraha became a sanyasin and chose Sri Kirti as his master. Immediately after his initiation, the first thing Sri Kirti asked Saraha was to drop all the Vedas, and all the learnings. After many years, Saraha became a great meditator. One day, while in meditation, Saraha had a vision that there was a woman in the market place who would become his real teacher. Saraha told his guru about the vision and with his blessings, left to seek the truth about his visions.
Sarah found the woman he saw in his vision in the marketplace. She was a young woman of a lower-caste arrowsmith family. She was making an arrow. For Saraha, this was a major shift – a learned Brahmin saint seeking out an arrowsmith woman as guru.
Saraha watched her carefully. The young woman was lively and luminous with life, cutting an arrow shaft, deeply absorbed in the process. Saraha immediately felt something extraordinary, something he had never heard or learnt in the scriptures or from any guru. Her very action of making the arrow illuminated the heart of Saraha.
He continued watching her working on the arrow. She, on the other hand, was working intensely without realising his presence or getting perturbed by his stare. For her, no one existed at that moment. After the arrow was ready, she closed one eye and opened the other as if pointing towards a target to check the fineness of the arrow. And that very moment something happened. Saraha understood the real meaning which he couldn’t discover in life despite reciting from various books. She was much absorbed in the act; there was no duality. She was one with her work. She gave Saraha the real message of Buddha – to be total in the action is to be free of action. Be total and you will be free. For the first time, he understood what meditation is.
The ordinary arrowsmith woman became the real teacher of a Brahmin guru without saying a word or mantra correcting scripture. Saraha got enlightened with just her presence involving routine work of making an arrow, albeit completely absorbed and melted with the act in the process.
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