PART V – The Path Ahead
Parvati sat forlornly staring into the still waters of a lotus pond. “Gone, he’s gone, Devarishi” spoke Parvati dejectedly to Narada who was seated opposite her.
“Why should that perturb you so much, Princess?” asked Narada
“Why? why will I not be perturbed Devarishi?” Parvati got up and started pacing up and down agitatedly. “You predicted long ago, by looking at the lines on my palm, I was destined for Shiva. Now, he has vanished…When he first came here I thought…”
“….he had come with a marriage proposal” Narada finished Parvati’s sentence
Parvati could sense her face reddening and she quickly looked down. “Well…yes…sort of…..”
“If devotion and service only counted, by now, Nandi would have become Mahadev’s wife” guffawed Narada.
Seeing the look of incredulity on Parvati’s face Narada stopped in mid laughter.
“So what of your prediction, Narada Muni?” asked Parvati
“I still stand by what I said, Princess.”
“Then why did he have to vanish?” Parvati persisted.
Narada sighed. “I said you were destined for Shiva. I did not say Shiva was destined for you”
“There’s a difference?”
“Most certainly, yes”
Parvati was confused.
Narada asked “What is that you want, Parvati?”
“I want to be accepted by Mahadev as his consort” replied Parvati.
“Who is that ‘I’? asked Narada
Parvati was surprised “I….means…me…. Parvati”
“Who are you, Parvati?” questioned Narada
“Who am I? I ….am …Parvati, …er…um…Himavan’s daughter” replied Parvati hesitantly.
“Tomorrow, if you were to be known as someone’s wife or someone’s mother, your identity will change. Does it mean you are not the same Parvati anymore?”
Parvati shook her head slowly.
Narada continued, “Your true self, Parvati is not based on relations, because relationships are transient. Your true self is not your body, because the body perishes. Your true self is not defined by your mind or your intellect because these are binding.”
Parvati asked “What then, O maharishi, is my true self?”
“I can only tell what your true self is not. What it is, you have to find it out yourself.” Narada replied evenly.
“And how is that done, Devarishi?”
Narada replied “Through the practice of self inquiry. Let the sacred mantra “Om” be your bow, your aatma be the arrow. Let the five senses be the string of the bow. By pulling back / controlling the senses, release the arrow and see if it hits the target- that is, the Brahman- the Ultimate Truth which you are in search of.
“Awaken the latent consciousness within you and arise it till you realize that you and the Ultimate are one. Just as when a small pot breaks and the space inside it gets dissolved into the greater space outside, similarly allow your consciousness to expand till it merges with the Supreme Consciousness- the Chitananda.
“AtmA vA are drashTavya: Srotavya: mantavya: nididhyAsitavya. It is the Atman that is to be beheld; it is the Atman that is to be known; it is the Atman that is to be searched for; it is the Atman which is to be heard about; it is the Atman which is to be thought in the mind; it is the Atman which is to be meditated upon. There is nothing else worthwhile thinking, nothing else worthwhile possessing, because nothing worthwhile exists, other than this."
“And when you have succeeded in realizing your true self, you will reach the state where the knowledege , the knower and the known all merge into one. No difference remains between the kshetra and the kshetrajna. All sense of duality is lost and you realize that you are “Chitananda Roopa ….Shivoham …Shivaoham”
An awestruck Parvati asked “How will I know I have reached that state?”
“Brahmavid Brahmaiva Bhavati. The knower of Brahman is Brahman himself” Narada replied gravely.
“And if I reach that state, will I be able to attain Shiva ?” Parvati asked imploringly
“No, answered Narada with a smile “you would have become Shiva”.
“Princess Parvati, I take leave of you now. I have shown you the path ahead- the path which leads to Shiva. May you be successful” said Narada, placing his hand on Parvati’s head. “This
is the last time I will have the privilege of blessing you, Parvati” added Narada.
“Why do you say so, Devarishi?”
“Because the next time we meet, I will be folding my hands in salutation in front of you….”
Narada stopped and after a pause added “….In Kailash”