Human mind works in a mysterious way. Especially at times, when the body is shut down and the mind is wide awake. It brings in new dimensions, new perspectives and new confusions! These thoughts vanish the way they arose, though few tend to cling on. Reading, and re-reading books inspired from Indian mythology, such as Jaal, The Pregnant King influences the mind too, a lot. One such thought which clung to my mind led to this post.
Kaushika the Emperor who turned into Vishvamitra the Hermit, is one person from the Hindu mythology, whom I adore a lot. Yes of course, my fascination for him started when I discovered that I share my name with him, which only increased as I got to learn more about him.
To give a brief introduction about this person, Kaushika was a mighty emperor who once met Vashishta, an hermit of the highest order. And there occurred a conflict between them (read more here) This conflict created a confusion in the mind of Kaushika, which ultimately prompted him to become a Brahmarishi (hermit of the highest order) And there began his journey!
It was initially his ego, anger, confusion, passion, ambition, rivalry, struggle, greed, competition, desire to achieve a status equal (if not higher) to those whom he considered as his rival, that made Kaushika to undertake a severe penance. The efforts bore fruits, and that made him a Rishi. He was still Kaushika. The anger passed by time, and He became a Rajarishi, but still he was Kaushika. His mind calmed over time that made him a Maharishi, but he was Kaushika, still!
When his mind expanded with wisdom, that sprouted and that flowed in, he could accommodate his version of truth, someone else’s vision of the world, everyone’s understanding of the universe and that made him an enlightened one – Brahmarishi Vishvamitra (Vishva – Cosmos and beyond, Mitra – Friend) Vishvamitra literally means ‘friend of all’. It is also understood as someone who could accommodate everyone and everything within the mind. Kaushika had rivals, but Vishvamitra didn’t, can’t and won’t have any!
In today’s world there is conflict and confusion, most often because we refuse to see the other side of the world. Our prejudices, perspectives and ego refuses to see the other version of the truth. We may not necessarily agree to something we may not like. But why can’t accept that it exists and let it exist?
The one who ruled over a mighty empire with just and respect had to undergo an harsh journey to control his mind and senses. So it’s definitely not an easy task to have such an infinite openness of mind. But why not have our mind at least directed towards this kind of openness?
As I stated earlier, accommodating his version of truth, someone else’s vision of the world, everyone’s understanding of the universe, turned Kaushika into Vishvamitra. Probably this is the elusive Enlightenment that we keep hearing quite often.
It is when we get these thoughts and understandings, that we realize that scriptures are more to be understood metaphorically, than taken literally. There could be difference of thoughts, opinions and perspectives. Making room for all of them increases our wisdom, while fighting over it, paves way only to exhaust our limited knowledge.
If there is an ocean to learn, there is an universe to unlearn. And this is a kind of learning too. The cosmos works in a mysterious way, and so our mind!
I’m Kaushik (literally and metaphorically, and many of us are too) with my own prejudices and opinions. I accept the truth, that my mind isn’t that big enough to accept certain (actually many) things. And there is a long way for this soul to go.