Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Cycles

This has happened a thousand times before, it will happen a thousand times again. A cycle of Yugas is but a thousandth of a kalpa, and Brahma lives for a hundred years, each made of 12 months, each with 30 days, each lasting two kalpas: day and night. As we are to Indra, the king of the Devas is to Brahma, and Brahma too must one day bow to the cycle of time.

There is a Ramayana in each and every one of us. There is a Rama, (just, wise, loving), a Sita (patient, strong, steadfast), a Hanuman (clever, quick, loyal). There is a Lakshmana (brash, mercurial, sleepless) and a Kumbhakarna (calm, slow, sleepy) and a Vibheeshana (righteous, idealistic, austere). And, of course,  there is a Ravana (monster, hero, general, ascetic, king, thief, brother).

There are Vaidehis and Maithilis, Kausalyas and Kaikeyis and Sumitras, Dasarathas and Daasarathis. There are as many of them as there are us, and each has their own story.

So do not worry if you have heard this tale before, for this tale has happened before. Sita has been Ravana’s daughter, she has been his wife, she has led the charge to end his reign more times than we can count. Rama has made deserts of the Oceans, his wrath has burnt the worlds like a never-ending inferno. Lakshmana has died of snakebite, has come back from the dead, has watched his brother conquer his enemy only to find his wife disappeared. Hanuman has lived his life in ignorance of his true strength, he has risen to become Vibheeshana’s one man army against the two sides of Manava and Rakshasa. In another cycle Rama refused to shoot Vali in the back, and has changed everything. In yet another, Kumbhakarna’s words are not the words of Saraswati, and the two brothers became like Hiranyaksha and Hiranyakashyapu, causing havoc among the worlds.

There are worlds where Bharata has become king, where Rama has married Surpanakha, where Vibhishana does not leave Ravana, where all that we know is no more. But even these are true.

In time the cycle goes through endless variations, and all of these are true. Though you have heard this before, you will also hear it again. Good and Evil fight for dominance, but in the end there are only three forces that matter: Creation, Preservation, and Destruction. Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva tell the stories, and it is they who listen.

We, the sons and daughters of Manu, see only the shadows, the boundaries of their true art. Reality is far greater than even the elements know. For every Indra there is an ant who was once an Indra, and for every ant there is an Indra who will become an ant. And we only see the trails left behind by ants, and use their stories to tell our own.