Manatita is an esteemed author living in London, UK. He writes spiritual books, flash fiction and esoteric poetry, his favourite genre.
King Shivaji's Story
The great King Shivaji was a powerful, yet kind, pious and tolerant leader, much loved by his people. He fought many battles with the Moghul Emperors. One day Shivaji’s Army Commander brought to him the daughter of a King that had been captured.
Soldier to Shivaji: “Your Majesty, I have brought to you the daughter of the captured King. Do with her as you wish.” Shivaji looked at the daughter of the Muslim King. She was very beautiful and reminded him of his mother. After some thought, he suddenly spoke and said:
“You are more beautiful than my own mother. I am giving you gifts. Take them back to your father and tell him it’s from a father to his daughter.”
The girl was touched and amazed, yet puzzled. “A father?” she enquired. So Shivaji responded that he was not going to harm her, nor give her to his son, another suggestion of the commander. He wanted her to be with her father where she belonged and who had loved and cared for her. In that sense, he felt like a father to her, as only a father who loved his own, would do such deeds. Then he ordered the commander to set her free.
King Shivaji had a very large Heart and respected all Faiths. A young man once threw the Holy Koran at him in insult, but Shivaji picked it up, handled it very carefully and reminded the young man that it was a very sacred book and should be treasured.
Learning from Stories and Parables
Here I am showing you, that we can learn from so many things and situations in the spiritual life. The spirit of forgiveness, of kindness and self-giving, so dominant and rich in King Shivaji’s life, that he was loved by practically all his citizens. Perhaps some current leaders could take note.
Our Holy Bible covers some very sublime and lofty stories. Two of my favourites are The Prodigal Son and The Good Samaritan. The message of Love, compassion and forgiveness in those two stories are so strong, that they are worth re-visiting.
However, today’s topic is called unfolding prayer. So while prayer may sometimes feel dry – and this does happen – then we can sing, recite powerful verses, listen to stories such as these, or repeat The Jesus Prayer on our rosaries.
We can also do what we call ‘fellowship’ in Christianity. Groups of like-minded people can get together to share, reminisce, speak of the virtues of Jesus, The Christ. These too, are forms of prayer, for they inspire or awaken the Love of God in our Hearts. I'm doing these virtually most days.
This current world experiences for 2020, has affected us in different ways. Here's some of what we feel as humans in isolation:
- Fear, related to the unknown. We do not wish to die, because we don't know where we are going, and for some it is a possibility of the end of life, as they have forgotten the soul and live in 'body consciousness.’
- Related to fear, there are guilt, insecurity and unworthiness, about how we have lived our lives. We feel unready, consciously or unconsciously unclean, especially as we grow older.
- Insecurity and loneliness, related to how we live as humans and what we see as love. We miss the socials, the 'grapping', attachments ... wonder about money and jobs, human touch, etc. I do not see all these as a negative. They are, but again, are also a part of God's Lila. We are weak, limited and indeed the Absolute Itself has designed it so.
- We feel that we have wasted time. Sri Chinmoy teaches that before it leaves the body, each soul feels that it has wasted time. I did a poll of this in one of my numerous Hubs on line and surprisingly, some people gave this answer also. Interestingly, many keep waiting or rather asking for the coming of Christ, yet they are least prepared.
The Fear Factor
This I realised even more, when talking to my Christian neighbour recently. She was so afraid! I reminded her of her good deeds, her church-going, our numerous positive conversations … her visits to Lourdes. Yet she appeared frail, fragile, admitting to me that it was not easy. Of course, it isn’t; that is why faith is so necessary.
Faced with the potential of dying, we worry about everything but God: our children, then their children's children ... then their cats or dogs. Some humans only reflect on the afterlife in adversity ... afflictions, but deep down, few wish to leave this plane. We are unconsciously or consciously satisfied, cherishing the material ... modern consumerism.
Why? We hear of the soul, yes, but we do not identify as souls, but as bodies. This is a gigantic human problem, which the Seers call Maya. We believe in the illusion, but not the Reality. We believe in the dream but not in the Dreamer of the dream.
I do not experience life like so many of us do. Not even like some of my colleagues. They say that a year has been intense, or this month was horrible or whatever. For me, life is more like a witness. I strive to live in the eternal now.
There is an acceptance of sad experiences and afflictions and difficulties too. They are neither good nor bad, not a bad year or day or month. It is all God's expression or experiences, happening in and through me.
When we see a monotheistic Supreme … when the Absolute and the creation are seen as everything … as the only Doer, then all that happens, is happening as it should. My role is only to do the best I can, while in the present moment, the Eternal Now. Guruji describes the past and future, as dead elephants sitting on our shoulders. I hope this makes sense.
Finally, 'last time' does determine this time. You are the soul. The soul takes with it, the sum total of its human experiences (A memory bank or records) if you like and is as such accountable to God in Paradise. Food for thought.
If nothing else, this current chaos has shown us that there is a need for prayer. However, if we should find it dry, then we can dance, sing, laugh, chant and do whatever is needful for the Love of the Divine. We do not eat the same food every day and in the same way, there are over a thousand ways to serve our Lord.
Let prayer unfold formally, with verbal utterances and silence, yes, but also read good writings, hold dialogue, see God in duty, food, family and loved ones. Stories with morals, psalms and beatitudes are very special and re-enacting or downloading spiritual plays would go a long way to igniting the fire of the Heart. Glory be!
-Manatita, The Lantern Carrier. 25th may, 2020
Credit: Shivaji's story was taken and embellished by rote from Sri Chinmoy's writings: King Shivaji and the Muslim Princess.
Freedom. A Free Verse Sonnet.
She held my gaze as we merged. One stream,
Like the rays of sunlight, in an awakening dawn.
Love kissed my Heart, now playing and dancing --
A cascade of twinkling stars, laughing with the heavens.
My song-bird soared upwards, like a golden Phoenix,
Basking in the joys of liberation. “Come!” Said the night
To the candescent moon, as she came, sitting on its lap,
Emanating her lustre in the darkness, to light up my sky.
The Beloved walked within, flooding my being with the emptiness
Of Silence. My tears became a raiment, like a bouquet is to the
Rose, concealing its fragrance and resplendent charm. Drunk with
Fine wine, I dined at Love’s banquet, in the interior Palace of the soul.
Coming from the embryo of life, I at first needed tenderness and
Affection; now I soar on Wings of Freedom, to the Light of the Beyond.
Manatita, The Lantern Carrier. 14th 2020.
© 2020 manatita44