Zen Questa

The village was just a little settlement of some thirty odd houses; well, this is what you would assume if you ever happen to be on the road just nudging that village, leading further to the capital a few hundred miles away. In that faraway place, there was a bar at the outskirts which bustled with gossips and loud noises while catering to the parched  farmers, businessmen, and sometimes to thieves and bandits . At times, the traveling troupes would play some nice music and a dance would ensue taking within its fold all and sundry. The rest of the village was a sleepy place and a pall of listless air had besieged it for ages now. Nobody, in that place would imagine a life anything other than what was present – there! However, there was one such strange soul in that village that felt cloyed inside and wanted to break free from this passive and indolent ambiance. Xandu was his name and he lived in his nicely thatched hut and seldom left the village like most of his folks.

There came a time in his life, when he had to make an exacting decision about what he thought was right and what was the demand of the situation at hand. You see, he was single and he had no love interest at the moment. There were times when he would be smitten by lovely dancing ladies and once he fell for a young gal who lived right across his place. Of all the desires that had enticed our young man, none had this motivating effect on his thinking as this one. Each passing day would send him into a land of yearnings and unfulfilled longings for that unknown pull that had ensnared all other ambitions in his life.  Earlier, He was so sure of his thinking that conformed with the society he lived in and he never gave a second thought to what he was doing. However, now that very stance cried out for a change.

 
In desperation, he sought out a solution to his problem and went off to visit a reclusive old man, who lived a bit far from the village, for the much needed counsel. The man saw him coming and cried from a distance “Stop!” Xandu was startled and baffled by such a response from the hermit. The man cried “you bring a disturbed mind into my realm of peace.” Xandu knelt down on the ground in submission and said “O’ greatest of the seers, the knower of the secrets, the bearer of the searing serpent of fire; I have come to thee for thy wise counsel.”  The hermit stepped forward and replied “Go, where thy troubled mind takes you; for the counsel cannot be sought outside but within the depths of your yearning soul. I cannot but show you the path to tread. You have to follow it with your own volition and you must walk alone.” Xanadu felt a gulp of unease going down his throat. He had come this far for the solution to his problem and not to be pushed into another uncertainty. He persisted “But… I have come this far to seek out the wisest advice for my troubled mind and yet you ask me to be alone?” “Then know this” the hermit said smilingly  “that no one is capable of giving a solution in times such as this. you shall seek your own path and not be betrayed into believing what others offer …and that includes me.”

There was silence …

Xandu was deeply affected by what he had just heard and tried to persuade the old man further but to no avail; Until the hermit spoke with compassion, “Go south, down into the forest, there you will find a gale where a man lives who can get you out of your troubles; but mind you he cannot see or hear you but wisest he is of us all and ye shall seek for the counsel of the wisest in matters as such.” saying this the hermit tuned and disappeared in his little settlement. Xandu still sat prostrated thinking why life is treating him like this? Why he alone is trouble while people around him were all happy and satisfied with what they had as life. The evening stars were beginning to show and the twilight was melting into a liquid of darkness. He got up with a heavy sigh and trudged back with measured steps to his hut; where he lied down on his bed tangled in a dark web of thoughts, which seemed even darker than the darkest nights. The very next day he was to make a journey deep into the forest – an adventure in to the unknown. A journey he thought, called for an urgency and yet something inside him held back and desired to stay in the comfort of his known surroundings and the security his home provided. That feeling made him hesitant from going.

 

Was it the fear? The fear of the unknown, of uncertainty, of getting lost and never to return or the fear of failure or perhaps the fear of dying. Or maybe it was just plain anxiety that seemed to gnaw at his resolve for a solution. Nothing seemed so important now but for the answers that lay somewhere untouched in an uncharted land. He tried to sleep; counted all the sheep forward and backwards and yet seemed not to bring upon that soporific effect that he was so used to since childhood. A part of his mind was stuck in future as he lay on his cot wandering and wondering, lost in his apprehensive thoughts. Anxiety was pulling the reins of his thoughts and lashing its horses into the territory of gloom and despair. Then for a moment he seemed  to forget all the things and resort to his normal ways. However, the slithering doubts undid resolve to live the way he had lived till the situation interrupted his flow of normal life. Finally, in that rare moment of let go, he turned on his side and closed his eyes. The voice of the seer rang afresh in his mind and tempted him to make this journey. He must. He sighed deeply and closed his eyes to a night of tumultuous dreams.

continued…

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