Guiding Light: Ascended Masters

Guiding Light: Ascended Masters

Ritesh AswaneyUpdated: Friday, May 24, 2024, 06:43 PM IST
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The Buddha's spiritual quest paved a path that millions walk to this day | File Pic

The sun is the source of all life on earth, and yet so much of creation is controlled by the moon, from tides to its influences on horticulture and farming. It just makes one ponder that it’s just not the direct source that has an influence, but also the reflected light of the moon that bears so much significance. In the same vein, whilst the grace of God can help one transcend our worldly limitations, the intervention of accomplished masters can also illuminate our spiritual paths.

Recently we celebrated Narsimha Jayanti, an incarnation of Lord VIshnu to come to the assistance of one of his most dearest devotees Prahlada. Born in a family of demons, he was an outlier thanks to his constant remembrance of Lord Vishnu, much to the chagrin of his despotic father, who had ordered his people to worship him above any other gods. Despite all his evil machinations, Lord Vishnu’s grace kept little Prahlada protected from danger.

On a fateful evening, the arrogant Hiranyakashyipu insisted that if Lord Vishnu was omnipresent, then he should surely be even in a pillar holding up his palace. Lo, and behold, out sprang Narsimhadev, an incarnation so fierce and frightening that it shook even the demon king, and before long he met his end at the hands of the half man-half lion form of Lord Vishnu. Prahlada’s intervention has made available to us, even today, this fierce yet extremely protective form of Lord Vishnu!

A beautiful full moon also lit up the skies this week, as we celebrated Buddha Poornima, marking the advent of the Buddha. Born a prince, Siddhartha has every luxury that one can imagine, which was his father’s way of keeping him away from human suffering. However, it was not to be, and when the young prince encountered ordinary human conditions such as illness and mortality, it transformed him forever, rendering the life of luxury hollow and meaningless.

His wanderings and spiritual quest paved a path of scientific temper that millions walk to this day, the Middle Way. The Buddha summarised the human condition through his teachings of the 4 noble truths, which acknowledge suffering, its causes, its end and the path to transcend it, the eightfold noble path encompassing the right conduct, meditation and wisdom.

When you’re at a crossroads, and pondering about the meaning of life and looking for guidance in your spiritual journey, of course look to the divine, but also cast a glance towards those that have walked this path before us, until their footprints disappeared and they ascended into the eternal nothingness that is Nirvana.

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