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A sudden tap on the weak wooden door in the middle of night, as the Monk opened the door a man appeared who looked extremely hurried and carrying a gun, introduced himself as a wildlife hunter, who lost his way. Below is the conversation between the Unknown man & the Monk
Unknown man: Can I come in, I'm very very thirsty ?
Monk (Calm & peaceful): Come, be my guest. Have a seat, I'll get you water.
As he stepped in, he saw the room had nothing except the very basics, a dim lit lamp which made it hard to see the room in it's entirety unless you focus very sharply, some books and a bed sheet covering the floor (with no bed). Finding this to be a safe place, he kept his gun aside and sat on the only wooden chair he saw in the room. The calmness in the room was very enticing and it made him to be at a little ease.
Monk: Here, please accept it
Unknown Man: Thank you
Monk: You look hurried and lost; can I be of any help to you?
Unknown Man: I came with few friends, they were hunting too and I was left behind. I was lost and felt extremely thirsty and had to tap your door to ask for water.
(I can't tell him the truth)
Monk: I feel good to be able to help
Unknown Man: Do you live here alone?
Monk: Yes, I'm a monk and the monastery is near, where I go to pray and meditate in the day and I come back here to sleep
Unknown Man: Meditate all day? You must be kidding, right?
Monk (Smiling, sat on the floor near the wooden chair and said nothing)
Unknown Man: …Because, I remember when I was a child my mother use to take me to church for some crap meditation sessions, if I closed my eyes for two minutes, I felt I was dead, it was the worst feeling.
Monk: You are right; meditation is a state of mind to experience the ‘Living dead'.
Unknown Man: ‘Living dead'?
Monk: A meditative state of mind is that of a drug addict, who at the height of their ecstasy, experiences the sensations beyond the body. And any external experience beyond the sensation of our body is considered dead, even though we are living, thus ‘Living dead'
(Then I must be the best ‘Living dead' person, I spent my entire life on drugs. This man talks more crazy than he looks in this orange robe dress, but I can't leave his place too I have to stay here, because the rival gang members who are chasing me if they even get a hint of my whereabouts they will kill me. So, to stay here for some more time either I have to kill this monk talking non-sense or I'll have to bear some more of his useless talks)
Yes, I know what you mean I have had few drug overdoses in my past, I can relate to that feeling of ‘Living dead', but I can never close my eyes to meditate
Monk: (Smiled again and said nothing)
Unknown Man: Why do you meditate anyways?
Monk: So I can avoid doing drug overdose, to seek the truth
Unknown Man (Laughed for the first time): So even monks can have sense of humor too.
Monk (Smiled again and said nothing)
Unknown Man: What truth are you after, ask me I'm wise, I have fixed few people and shown them the right direction
(By killing them)
Monk: The truth, which helps me define or give a meaning to my existence, with the wisdom and the knowledge I acquire.
Unknown man: Wisdom and knowledge, what are you talking about? How do they differ?
Monk (Smiled again, took a pause and then said): Knowledge is knowing tomato is a fruit, and wisdom is knowing not to put it in fruit salad
Unknown Man (Busted and laughed loudly this time): So monks do have a good sense of humor too, I thought they are good for nothing and are just social outcast, who are running around with baldhead and weird clothes.
(Immediately realizing what he said)
Did I offend you by saying that?
Monk (Calmly and Smiling): No, because I have long given up on relating to this (pointing to himself) physical identity, and my ‘Living dead' practice have helped me to control my reactions to the other's actions, so your conscious have to do lot more to offend my consciousness.
Unknown Man (Paused and not knowing how to react and then said):
Monks are supposed to be celibate, then why this much Intellectual/Spiritual masturbation, explain me as you would explain this to a kid, in plain and simple English. Religious people like you have always confused me.
Monk: (Smiling very calmly): I'm not religious
Unknown Man (Confused): What? If not you, then who else can be called religious? Not me for sure, because I left going to church long back .God and I don't go along well these days
(This Monk, don't know I'm a Gangster, who murders & thug people for living, if the other rival gang members were not following me now, I would have cut this monk too for fusing my brain cells)
Monk: Religious person is a believer, he believes in things which he has not experienced himself sometimes, such as GOD, a heaven or hell. Thus those are based on assumptions or imaginations, they may or may not be true, but he is forced to believe in them in a controlled way, which deprives them of a freewill and seeking the truth.
It's like telling a tourist who has come in to see the ocean, to walk on straight path for 1000km and by suggesting him; the road would up end up adjacent to the ocean. The tourist who will blindly follow the instructions to take this path is following an assumption. What if there is No Ocean in the end? What if in fact the ocean was very near from where he started walking? Which of course he did not look, because he had to follow a path for 1000 km as instructed. What if there is no path at all after walking 100km?
The assumptions are good sometimes to be made, but that also means without a conclusive truth backing it, one man's assumptions/belief's will always clash with other man's assumptions/beliefs someday but definitely one day. And thus the chaos and fights in the world, because most of us lack the ability of acceptance, compassion to deal with these difference.
Unknown Man (Nodding and now started thinking): Who are you then? And what is your recipe for the world peace?
(I should not be even asking about the world peace, when I'm the reason to create chaos to lives around me)
Monk: (Smiling again): I'm a seeker of truth, the truth
• That makes me conscious of my inner self,
Helps me reflect on my thoughts, feelings, beliefs and motivations, teaches me to be objective and forgiving to myself.
• Gives me ability to develop my true potential or self actualize
Helps me create my blueprint for my beliefs, values, morality (choosing right and wrong), rules and experiences
• The knowledge/ intellect to define the meaning of my existence
The purpose of life is nothing, except of what you create. This purpose puts all of my physical, emotional, and intellectual potentials to good use, sustains me during my trying times, and gives me something to look forward to, a goal to achieve, a destination to reach.
• And the wisdom to find the relatedness with my environment
Recognizing my connection to all things around me, tends to make me feel more humble and respectful of everything. It makes me appreciate everything and everyone around me. It moves me to go beyond my comfort zone and reach out to other people, and become a better steward of all other things around me.
Ritual and prayer, along with questions of Nirvana and Salvation are directly connected with religious faith; this is why religion is something we can perhaps do without. What we cannot do without are these basic qualities of human spirit–such as love and compassion, patience, tolerance, forgiveness, contentment, a sense of responsibility, a sense of harmony, which bring happiness to both self and others
Unknown Man (Now in complete awe of this Monk, but still mockingly said): And what is your recipe of world peace then?
Monk: I'm aware of my limitations to change the world, but I'm also very much aware of my Individual contribution to make a difference, my awareness to deal with chaos, and acceptance to the differences will lead to world peace.
Where there is righteousness in the heart, there is a beauty in the character
When there is beauty in the character, there is harmony in the home
When there is harmony in the home, there is an order in the nation
And when there is order in the nation, there is peace in the world
Peace always will start from within, your own self, from your own contribution.
Unknown Man (Speechless, complete silence- opened his mouth to say something then paused, clears his throat and then pause, the calmness in the dim lit room consumes the silence)
(Self-realization, individual contribution, peace, harmony, beliefs, morality, I have read these words before, I remember long back in school, but I'm too late to change anything in my life now. I'm a gangster and that is a fact, I have killed people, looted them, given them pain and suffering and made endless enemies, this monk is playing with my head. My offended GOD must have sent me to this man on purpose, to make a mess of my already chaotic life)
I'm a gangster
Monk (Calm & composed without moving an inch of his muscle): I already have guessed
Gangster: How do you mean you guessed?
Monk: There is no wildlife or jungle nearby. The panic with which you tapped my door in middle of night, the hurriedness to come inside, the loose gun, the half sipped glass of water only even when you said you was extremely thirsty, all this tells me you are not lost, but being chased.
Gangster (realizing he can't match up with Monk's Intellect): So were you not afraid I could harm you or even kill you?
Monk (Smiling): Death should never be feared, if you have lived wisely. But yes, I would have given you a good resistance, to avoid being killed mercilessly, which is something I could have controlled.
Gangster (Now being at little ease with the Monk): You are a brave Monk
Monk: And you are a brave too
Gangster: How am I brave?
Monk: ..because you decided to talk than to kill me, and It takes courage to resist the temptation.
Gangster (Not sure to laugh or smile or feel amazed): But I have killed other people, and caused lot of havoc in their lives
Monk: Sometimes the presence of ‘evil' is the only thing, that makes the ‘good' to deserve and prove its purity above it
Gangster: But who say's I'm turning good ?
Monk: Your long pauses while talking tells me; there is some room for self-realization.
Gangster: I'm a gangster
Monk: I see you no different than me
Gangster: How do you mean?
Monk: You are doing this to have a life of wellbeing, so am I, so our motivations are the same, only difference is the paths we have taken- which can be corrected.
Gangster: I have killed people, do you not understand? Your path is completely the opposite of my path and there is no common ground and there is no turning back for me now.
Monk: The woman churning curd into butter, she has to pull one end of the rope, and let the other end go otherwise the rope will break. Contradictions and polarities are two ends of the same rope. You can pull one end and let the other end go. The choice is on us to make
Gangster: What will I get, even if I take your path, this crap room with no bed and dim light? I'm better off looting people; I at least have a lifestyle
Monk: You will get peace
Gangster: And who will decide who's path is right?
Monk: You will decide for yourself. The path, which gives you ultimate happiness, is the correct path. If you can forgive yourself and still continue with your path, you should never change. If however, you have remorse, have self-regret, and feel un happy about it, then you will know you can't continue on this path.
Gangster (Paused, speechless and with heavy throat): I confess, but I can't let myself accept the truth, it will make me burn myself with self-regret and remorse
Monk: Three things cannot be long hidden, the sun, the moon and the truth
Monk: There are only two mistakes one can make along the path of truth, one- not going all the way, the second- not starting.
Gangster: It's too late for me to even try
Monk: A Jug fills drop by drop, any work started is always half done
Gangster (Speechless and thinking)
(Why everything this Monk is saying is making sense to me all of a sudden. It's amazing how we imagine that just these few alphabets will someday arrange themselves in a way that everything will suddenly make perfect sense. A permutation of known words, suddenly bringing forward a previously unknown meaning.)
I have many enemies, and my life is always in danger, how can I be at peace
Monk: He who loves 10 people, will have 10 foes, he who loves no one, will have no enemies. If you have enemies that tell me you can love too. And when you will spread love and happiness to others, you will always be at peace.
Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared similarly love is the nectar, which will one day glue the most rusted hearts.
Gangster: What if I get caught and get killed
Monk: You can get killed right now too regardless, so when you can't control the outcome, you should only focus on changing your perspective. There is nothing more dreadful than living in doubt, just to avoid the death, which is our ultimate truth.
But what if you lived? How would you then change your life and the lives around you? Or would you just still want to live like this, so you could somehow avoid being killed?
Gangster (Suddenly started sobbing and crying with tears in his eyes, feeling embarrassed too):
Complete silence in the room, the silence of calmness, the silence of self-realization and the silence of self-actualization
I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I never cried as far as I can remember, I can't control them and I'm not sure why?
Monk: I'm glad you did, for only a person with emotion can have compassion for others and for one's own self.
Gangster: Can you be my teacher?
Monk (Very calm and Smiling): Teacher can never do more than showing a door, but then you have to come and walk inside with your own convictions. What we talked is all I could offer
Gangster: Then at least tell me, what exactly I need to do to correct my path?
Monk: It's always better to travel well, than to arrive by a set destination provided by someone.
The whole secret of existence is to have no fear. Never fear what will become of you, depend on no one. Only the moment you reject all help are you freed. Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.
Your suffering may guide you to your path, a path to attain higher knowledge and wisdom to accept and embrace the truth.
Because if your perspective is right, suffering is always creative, it always gives rise to something new and productive. And to understand everything, you have to develop the ability to forgive everything, which is a sole and self journey.
Gangster (Tears still in the eyes and the longest pause):
( I don't know why am I crying? Why am I feeling this calm for the first time? Why am I not feeling chaotic? What have changed in me to see this monk as a teacher, when I was ready to kill him two hours ago? Who am I? What is my path? What is my purpose? Will I achieve that with what I'm doing-being a gangster?
Why is my gut telling me I need to seek the truth? I have to seek the truth. I have to accept the truth)
I want to meditate now.
Monk (peacefully smiling without a word, the calmness in the room is enticing it seems this calmness can drink and evaporate the entire chaos of this universe):
I'm glad you want to, can I offer you my clothes which I'm wearing (requesting with his hands fold), I don't have another set of robe here. This may help you detach from the identity you are carrying right now, to experience the new you. I'll accept to wear your clothes.
Gangster and Monk exchanged clothes. Gangster wearing orange robe now and Monk accepted to wear his trouser and ‘Black Jacket'.
As the Monk and Gangster were meditating, the door got kicked and it flew open, 2 men carrying guns in devilish rush, pointed and fired 6 rounds of bullets to the man wearing ‘Black' jacket and quickly they left. The other man in the room is still meditating.
WHO IS LEFT IN THE ROOM NOW? THE GANGSTER or THE MONK?
P.S: Sometimes the old forgotten friend we use to call as ‘Silence', still do wonders in our so called modern and complex lives, by helping us connect to a state of realization, which is beyond the sensation of our bodies – the state of Meditation, the state of ‘Living Dead'.
Authored & Created by : Anup D.
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"Spiritual Masturbation – Who is left in the room, a Monk or a Gangster ? (a journey of awakening)" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 21 Sep. 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/84898/spiritual-masturbation-–-who-is-left-in-the-room,-a-monk-or-a-gangster-?-(a-journey-of-awakening)>.