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  • Nandini Sengupta

The Monk on the rock

The journey within

"In uncertainty, I find my freedom

In the crowd, I find my voice

My stories are the pieces

of a game of puzzle

that we essentially call Life."

(by the protagonist)

Clad in a saffron robe with a clean-shaven head, he would sit on a vast boulder adjacent to the river bed. He was just fifteen when he found this place while he had a fallout with his friend Raman one evening. Heartbroken, he arrived at this place aimlessly. He sat on that magnificent assemblage of earth and intently studied the river's flow, its gushing sound, the silver dancing of the moon, and the music of flying herons. He kept returning to this place time and again after that fateful evening.

Six years had flowed with the river since that day. Several events followed and countless stories were being churned out. Agastya was a monk by then. He understood early on that life was full of mysteries to be unraveled, and he took it upon himself to solve them all. Every day, he would sit on a rock and write a story, drawing inspiration from his personal experiences. As a village boy who had never been to a town, his stories revolved around the people he encountered in his locality. But each one was replete with meanings he took up from his life: lessons he learned, hurts he endured, people he met, the ones he lost, and the friends who remained forever. Every story encapsulated strains of empathy he imbibed through his unique experiences.

Agastya had been initiated into monkhood by his Guru who lived in his village Muktigram. Whenever he was in a dilemma or had a question, he would turn to him. But that year his guru was not in his village. He was in another village named Anandgao, far off from the one where he lived. And Agastya had an answer to seek. He needed guidance from his teacher.

Now the main challenge for him was to travel that extra mile to reach there. He had never been anywhere outside his place. But getting the answer was equally crucial to his imminent journey. After much deliberation, he set his journey on foot. It was not easy on his part. He had no idea about the exact direction of his objective, the route that would lead him to his guru. But he knew he would have to undertake this journey to find his answer.

He asked his villagers about that village and based on their information he undertook his mission. It took him one whole day to reach the village of Anandgao. En route, he met a young boy playing with a tyre of a four-wheeler deftly running it with a stick. It didn't lose its balance even for once.

Even after such long years in spirituality, he was yet to master this level of focus and dedication. He understood he had a long way to go and continued his journey. After a while, he felt thirsty. His bottle was empty and the village being on the outskirts, didn't show any sign of a well or waterbody. He was thirsty and exasperated. The sun was on the top. He had traversed only half the distance. He couldn't drag his legs. They were swollen. He wondered how this could be. He was a monk, not an ordinary human being. After pulling through some more distance, he saw a tree. He sat underneath and fell asleep.

When he woke up, it was already evening and he had a few more hours left to finish his journey. He quickly stood up and started walking fast. He must reach his destination before the end of the day. His legs ached, and his throat dried, yet he continued his walk. At about nine, in full darkness, he reached his destination, the beautiful village of Anandgao. He was indeed feeling happy and fulfilled. As he stretched out his hands, looking up in the sky, drops of rain fell on his face, then his lips and then he was entirely drenched. His thirst was quenched. He now knew his answer: the answer he had sought for such a long time. He quickly ran to his guru, fell to his feet, and started crying.

"I always thought I was a monk, away from worldly desires and limitations. I thought all these years I had learned a lot. But today I realized I was distracted from my goal, the goal to serve people whole-heartedly, without any ego."

"Go and share your stories with the world. They need to be shared and read and not treasured," his guru smiled.

"the monk on the rock

the rock is of the soil

all stories reside there

you pick the one

of your choice..."

By Nandini Sengupta


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