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Onlyness by Santosh Jha - HTML preview

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Melissa sleeps till late in the morning. She is expected to be with Shiv for her daily sessions at six in the morning but it is already seven when she wakes up by knock at her cottage doors. It is Shiv asking whether she is fine. She looks at the watch, extends her apology to Shiv and asks him to come in. He asks her to take her time to get fresh and ready, as he would wait outside. She comes out of her bed and opens the doors for him. She insists Shiv to come in.

“Shiv, I am terribly sorry for being late. I slept late at night and forgot to put alarm on the clock.”

“I know. I understand. You do not need to be sorry. Your father had called me last night. I anyway was going to tell you that you do need to take it easy. I believe, you should relax and not trouble yourself with issues, which can be happily postponed. Important it is that you feel well and in complete harmony with your consciousness. We can start when you are ready.”

“Thanks Shiv, I appreciate your patience with me. Are you busy? Can you sit with me for a while?”

“Sure. I need to tell you that you are special for us here in this Ashram and you should always keep it in your mind that if I and facilities here could be of any help to you, we all shall be too happy.”

Melissa sits on her bed assessing what Shiv said, as he moves out and calls someone to bring the morning tea for her. She asks herself, is he being especially kind and good to her or he is the way he is? She finds no reason to distrust him and as her father wished her to trust him, she thinks, she can take some initiatives with him.

“Shiv, can I ask you something personal”, Melissa asks him looking at the cup of tea, which he offers her.

“Questions are always good if answers are accepted with innocence of mind consciousness”, Shiv replies with a smile, which makes her relaxed.

“Are you what you are with me or are you being something out of your way to me just because you said, I am a special guest here because of my dad?”

“I shall give you the honest answer but I request you that whatever shall come to your mind after listening my answer, you shall tell me”.

Melissa nodded in affirmative.

“Most people are usually two persons within one body. They move between consciousnesses as per their elements of nature and nurture. You can call these elements as instincts and culture. Most of their lives, people behave and act in a way, which at one point of time is available for decision to their minds – an autonomous mix of their nature and nurture. I have been very lucky that I have been trained to be largely independent of both these elements. This enables me to have a facility where neither instinct, nor my cultural elements decide my long-term conscious behavior and acts. Rather, in my deep consciousness, I myself decide, what should ideally present the decision-matrix for my mind. This enables me to have infinite shades of personalities. Usually, I am a reclusive person but it has been my practice to be a mirror personality to the person I interact with. That helps me reach the person and be of help and utility to him or her. This neutrality, objectivity and plasticity of consciousness is a position of compassion, from where one becomes a catalyst for wellness to others, even while retaining his or her own true self deep inside. For you, I have special instructions from Acharya as your father has been his favorite person. We all want to be of all possible utility to you, while you stay here. That is why; I have been asking you to decide what you wish to make out of your stay here. I shall orient my personality in a way, which shall be of utmost utility to you.”

“Shiv, If I ask you, can you be with me what you are in your usual way, I mean what is your true nature and personality, is it wrong to ask?”

“No, it is not wrong. I told you, it is your choice, which matters to us. However, the issue at hand is your benefit and utility. What I am is what suits me in my own worldview. It however may not be what may benefit you. You are here for a short time and your father told us that you wish to have a quiet and leisurely time here. It is therefore important that you decide what we can do or what we should not, which could make your stay here more meaningful and beneficial for you.”

“Shiv, you say you are with me to help me get the most out of my stay here. You also said that any question I ask would be right if I accept their answers with innocence. Well then, I assure you that I shall accept all your answers with innocence and now I ask you to be with me what you are in your true and natural consciousness.”

“Okay, I accept.”

“Well, now that you have accepted it I ask again, tell me how you attained this facility of being the conscious decider of what should ideally present yourself with your decision-matrix at any point of time in your life.”

Shiv smiles at her question. He could not see it coming this soon. He is rather happy that Melissa picked that up so smartly. He however wishes to be sure.

“Melissa, are you sure you wish to ask this question because the answer cannot be simple and short. You shall have to go into so many details about related issues then only you can reach to the right answers. And, all throughout, you shall have to keep your innocence as well as faith intact that you are heading to the right answers.”

“This is rather good for me. My dad thinks, there are so many things that I can learn here and he believes you have loads of them. It is always good that one question can lead me to a wider field of details and possible learning. I think, once you introduce me to different ideas, I shall have the ease in picking up what you say shall be of utility for me. I really think, I have chosen the right question”.

“It is good that you are confident of your question. However, this is only one small part of the overall preparations for reception of answers. As I told you, learning comes natural and easy for kids but for grownups, the toughest part is unlearning. You already have an established worldview and the culture you have lived in and have been successful in, have ingrained deep in your subconscious. Your subconscious mind already has loads of referrals, which automatically comes up before your mind consciousness as primary decision-matrix for right and wrong. It shall need huge amount of innocence and trust within you, which could help you override your instinctive as well as cultural decision-matrix for the utility and fruition of any new answers and learning. The stage where you rise above the elements of nature and nurture starts with initially forced consciousness of innocence and faith. Later, it becomes an automatic and first instinct after lots of practice, enabling smooth assimilation of new learning.”

It is long discourse for Melissa and as words queued up for entry into her mind, she keeps quite for a while. She understands only a part of what Shiv said, still grappling with many words, he said. He is closely watching her face and reads her well.

“Melissa, the first innocence is acceptance of the fact that mind is not omnipotent. It is a poor processor of information it is fed from different sensors of body. You first need to consciously put ahead your innocence like a kid and say with child-like simplicity that you did not understand something. Your mind cannot process an input, which it does not already have in its memory of experiences. You speak French to me and I won’t even blink as my mind cannot process it. Secondly, when you say you could not understand it, you need to have total faith in yourself that you shall never take it as your ignorance. There is nothing called ignorance in this universe. It is just that all minds receive something for the first time and then only it becomes available for subsequent value summation.”

“Yes Shiv, you are right. I am beginning to understand that while I am with you, there shall be many firsts for my little mind. Probably, dad is right as he told me that while in USA, I have experienced only one side of the larger worldview. He said, I needed to be exposed to different worldviews. Be sure, now on I shall always tell you if I do not understand anything. As you said, I shall make a conscious effort to make my innocence upfront.”

“It is not that you do not know something. Everything is within us therefore, in true sense, everything is available for you to know that I can ever know. The only difference is, both you and me have a large piece of land full of diamonds. I was fortunate to have a mind training, which enabled me to dig them out and bring them on surface. Your diamonds are there too, but still beneath the land, which you can dig out, whenever you like.”

“Shiv, let me tell you this, not with innocence of a child but out of a woman’s curiosity to make this diamond metaphor a bit simpler for me. I want my diamonds. I know you may have plenty of them but I can be happy with one large one”, she said smiling.

“You shall have plenty of them. Diamonds actually belong to women.”

“Then make this digging thing simple for me to understand.”

“This is the core trouble with all enterprises of life. There can never be one simple aspect of anything. Things always are multidimensional and it takes a convergence of all these dimensions at one point of time to create a utility. For example, everyone has a piece of land full of diamonds, however, only that person shall begin to dig for it, who has the knowledge that diamonds are precious. Otherwise, it is just a stone. If a farmer has this land who does not know the worth of diamonds and is obsessed with fertility of his soil for cultivation, shall throw them away along with other pebbles and weeds. Other farmer may have the knowledge of the worth of diamonds but he may not have the knowledge that in nature, diamonds do not come as polished and shining. He shall dig and even find them but still throw them away taking them as any other useless stone. Another farmer may be knowledgeable of all these still, he may not have the patience to dig deep and discern between real diamond and loads of other stones that may come up during digging. He may stop digging mid-way. In digging wisdom, we all face such troubles. It takes multidimensional elements of preparations and readiness, all being in one person at some point of time, for the treasure of diamonds to become available.”

“At which stage of preparedness and readiness, you think I stand?”

“It is a difficult decision. You know the best. What I wish to tell you is, what is of utility and benefit to someone in his or her life, is independent of the real and true worth they have. It is you and me who create worth in anything. Then we pursue it and devote our lives in having them and that too in plenty. A diamond does not have any worth on its own. It has worth for humans. A monkey shall find it, taste it and then throw it away. For the monkey, an apple is million times more worthy and precious that this hard, tasteless stone.”

“This means, our lives, whatever we all do with our lives and what we chase life-long, have worth and value only to the extent, we assign them and believe in it?”

“Not even that. Most people do not even assign their own value and worth to what they do and achieve in life. The contemporary culture, they are born in and brought up, usually decides the benchmarks of utility and worth for all pursuits of their lives. The worth of diamond is a cultural benchmark of utility. In the culture of all other living species of Earth, other than human, it is almost worthless like any other stone. There is a worldview of all other species, other than humans, where value and utility of all pursuits by all members of the species are decided by their natural instincts, which ensures their survival. In humans, the instincts are also there and they decide utility and value of human pursuits too. However, most of human pursuits are decided by popular cultural benchmarks of utility and worth, which humans themselves create and keep changing.”

“My dad always told me to keep away from populism. Probably, he wanted me to decide my own benchmarks of utility and self-worth. You know Shiv, from childhood; he always called me empress and expected me to present myself as one. I think, he also meant what you are telling me now.”

“Melissa, most men and women live their lives and base their decision about right and wrong on the basis of a mix of their nature and nurture – the instincts and culture. It looks like; their consciousness is a function of an interaction of the two broad elements of instincts and culture. However, this is only a small portion of the self – the larger consciousness. There are infinite shades of one’s consciousness, which one can decipher and it is like digging them from the land of one’s consciousness. This is a very difficult task. One has to completely unlearn the cultural consciousness, which usually accounts for the bulk of one’s popular consciousness. Then, one has to assign completely new sets of values, utility and worth to all those natural instincts, which usually make auto-decisions for us. Then only, the doors of multiple shades of higher consciousnesses open up.”

“So, finally, we have come back to the same point. What I could understand is – there is a super consciousness like realism, within us, which becomes largely independent of both instincts and culture. This super consciousness of the self is the facility of being the conscious decider of what should ideally present yourself with your decision-matrix of real and true utility and worth at any point of time in your life.”

“You are almost there.”

“But Shiv, this still leaves my question unanswered. Now I truly wish to know how one can reach to this stage of super consciousness.”

“It is really good that you keep faith with your question. However, from here, you shall need both faith and courage of conviction to journey to the answer.”

“Why this courage element, are we moving to some dangerous territory?”

“Dangerous is the extreme word, yes, there is the element of uncertainties. I explain it to you and it shall be completely on your discretion, whether you wish to take this mind journey or not. From here, we shall have to enter a domain, where even science is not sure. Naturally, what we shall deal with is the domain of philosophy. We have to deal with the question of consciousness, about which even science still searches for answers. The ancient Indian philosophy offers answers but not amenable to finality in a way science accepts. These philosophical ideas are very much available for practical tests on realistic grounds, yet they are only self-evident, not amenable to across the board evidences, which a scientific fact must have. As you are from a culture where scientific evidences matter for very utility as well as finality of an idea, you shall need the courage of conviction to travel faithfully with the new idea of self and life worth.”

“Hmmm… I understand. Is that all Shiv? Anything else, which I should be cautious of?”

“Yes, there is another aspect of this new learning, which needs larger courage. In search of this super consciousness, which you wish to arrive at, you may confront a completely novel set of realisms about consciousness and life. These realisms and their experiences can be destabilizing for you initially as you shall not be used to it. They may even be in conflict and contradiction of your existing cultural ideas and worldview. This can be destabilizing, as your current consciousness shall have to battle with them. It is only very natural that when your decision-matrix goes for a complete makeover, your consciousness shall stand in a domain of uncertainties. Your subconscious mind shall prompt you to reject and run away from the new ideas and inputs. It shall engender a sense of futility of enterprise in your conscious mind. Your previous matrices may stand to lose ground and this shall instill a sense of loss and void within. You shall need the courage of conviction to accept a new self, which shall grow within you, standing to reject or renew your existing self, which you have evolved over long years and which has been so dear to you.”

“Shiv, to be honest, I cannot understand much of what you say about the new experience, which are lined up on road to the super consciousness. I cannot even perceive of the experiences, you are cautioning me against. I cannot visualize them right now.”

“I understand that Melissa. There are so many experiences, which we have for the first time and it is only our nature to be cautious of them. Once you visualize them, the initial fear goes away. You must take time to think over what we have discussed today. We can talk about it next day.”

“You are right. Shiv, can I ask you, what your feelings were, when you started your journey on the road to super consciousness thing. You too might have been unsure, cautious and timid.”

“I started when I was quite young and I was not given a choice. I had complete faith in my teacher and I followed him, where he took me to. There was fear but not about the new knowledge but about whether I shall be able to stand up to the expectation of my teacher or not. A child does not usually have conflict in mind; he is led by faith in his superiors. Adult learning however has loads of conflicts and less faith. One thing, I can now say is, knowledge is unsettling and a trouble only when you are halfway through it. Complete knowledge is always of larger utility and peace of mind. My teacher used to tell me, knowledge always tests the eligibility of a person seeking it. Knowledge, like nature, tests the pursuer with all hardships and trouble so that only those arrive to it, who are the best. It is like survival of the fittest. My teacher used to tell me, the fittest for wisdom is one who only accepts optionalessness. Knowledge has to be optionless in life, only then the journey to it becomes self-energized.”

“Shiv, you mean to say, it is only the journey to super consciousness, which is fraught with uncertainties and unsettling feelings. Once I reach there, it will be gone. During the journey, I have to keep full faith on you.”

“Melissa, it is not about you having faith in me. It is rather a misnomer. The faith you have to have is on you that you can accept the optionlessness of wisdom with conviction. The faith you need to have is on the idea that until you reach the destination, you shall not sit on the judgment of the journeys and its pains and pleasures. You need to have faith on the ultimate utility of the finality of the enterprise, which you shall launch, when you take the road to super consciousness.”

Melissa looks confused. She is unable to put all the ideas in single linearity, which he presented. She is not doubting Shiv anymore. However, she realizes that he is probably a bit reluctant as he might be unsure of her abilities to understand what he can make her learn. Shiv is continuously watching her face.

“Melissa, I am sorry, if I have burdened you with unnecessary ideas and issues. The whole idea is to make you happier and in better peace and harmony with yourself. I hope you understand that whatever I am doing, is for your wellness. I wish you to believe me that ignorance never causes pain and trouble to people and others. It is always part knowledge and half-baked wisdom of people, which lands them in major troubles. The troubles you see all around are not because of seven billion people on this planet being ignorant. The trouble is, most of us are happily egoistic about our half-truths and part knowledge. True knowledge and wisdom is always assimilative and integrative. If we see conflicts and competitiveness all around, it is not because of ignorance but because of the intelligence of people and their zeal about accepting them as only true intelligence. That is why, you might be feeling that I wish you to be fully ready for accepting wisdom in its holism or simply be happy with what you are. Wisdom is optional at the outset; however it is optionless, once we enter its domain.”

“Shiv, I appreciate your views and I wish to assure you that I am not doubting you and your words. You probably said it right. I need to have faith in myself. I probably doubt my own readiness for the journey. May be, you are right when you say I need my courage of conviction. May be I am not completely understanding whatever you wish me to understand. I will do what you said. I shall work on my preparations first. I shall work to get myself ready.”

“Take your time and while you work it out, always believe that there is nothing alien about anything new you learn and accept as wisdom. Because as, I said earlier you already have them inside you. Wisdom is just a facility to decipher and discern, what is already within us. It is just that, as you expand the horizon of your consciousness, new realisms get unraveled to you. Wisdom does not create anything; it simply reveals them to us. Science also does not create realisms; it only unravels them. Similar it is with philosophy and any new idea. Once they are revealed, you shall find that everything unraveled to you is what you already felt you had but now they express and present themselves in dimensions, which shall be novel and very satisfying. There are wisdoms, which are self-evident; making them provable and replicable is the domain of science.”

“Yes Shiv, I am beginning to get your ideas and words. I think, I can work it out.”

“Melissa, I think you already know it; still I remind you. An empress is an empress because her superiority gets sustenance not from virtues people load on her, rather the virtues are all within her soul. Virtues find expression in the consciousness of the empress and not in the people’s minds, she rules. You already have this consciousness of an empress. You just have to be natural and stop resisting your soul. Just be the empress you are.”


Long after Shiv goes away, Melissa remains puzzled as how could Shiv say similar things, which her dad kept telling her all the time, when she was a child. How could he also call her an empress like her father? She keeps thinking about Shiv and his talks with her. Late in the day, when she goes for a walk, she finds him playing with kids of the ashram. She suddenly thinks of her father. A little girl is chasing Shiv and he runs around. He fakes a fall and the girl is ecstatic catching him up. He picks her up and tosses her up in air and they both laugh uncontrollably. Melissa keeps watching him. He looks to her so much like her dad. Suddenly, she feels Shiv was right. She needs to be the empress of her dad. She has the courage and faith in her.

Back in her cottage, Melissa feels a sense of strength coming back to her. After the mishap in her life a month back, first time, she felt at ease and composure to reflect on it. She had been avoiding thoughts over what she did and how things happened after she was dumped by her fiancé. She begins to think, she has to be the empress of her destiny. She shall have to redeem her empress mode, as her dad trained her to be. She cannot be swayed by milieu and circumstances like a common person. She remembers how she erred when she was dumped. Had she been in the state of super consciousness like Shiv, she too could have been strong and poised like what Shiv looks like. She resolves to be her dad’s empress. She cannot anymore be a puppet of populism. She shall brave all, and she starts to believe, Shiv is probably the right person to help her redeem and reinvent herself. He is so much like her dad. The way he is patiently and calmly taking her step by step to newer ideas, and detailing every aspect with openness, Melissa feels, she can be with him as an innocent child, which he thinks is required for her new learning.

She even understands that Shiv has been successfully making her believe in herself and her strengths. He never rushes in with his believe, never trying to impress upon her something which she may not be comfortable with or feel odd about. She grows in confidence with him. She has seen so many men in her life and most of them either put up pranks or faked to impress upon her their egoistic attainments and superiority. Being in the celebrity business, Melissa has seen the game of one-up-manship among men and women in its bare and crudest forms. Shiv is a pleasant exception to this all. He treats her with so much respect and equality. In her celebrity life or otherwise, she always met people, who treated her as a person with all her past baggage. Shiv however always treated her with her present state of consciousness, never ever showing any inquisitiveness about what she had been. For her, it was a pleasant change as there was someone, who interacted with her as a person and not as a woman and celebrity. Still, he puts in so much respect and care for her, even when he has known her for just two days. It was so much like her dad who treated with so much respect and equality even when she was just a small kid. Her dad also believed in her and her discretion, even when he detailed about all possible aspects of any issue, for which she needed to take a decision. Her dad would always say, an empress must take her own decisions and own it, whatever be the outcome. Melissa smiles at the commonality Shiv has with her dad. He is also treating her like an empress, urging her to own her decisions. She makes her decision. She shall also own it.




Shiv finds Melissa ready and waiting for her when he goes to her cottage at six in the morning to wake her up. He smiles at her and understands that she has made her mind to walk on the road to new beginning. Her body posture exuded her confidence and her face lighted up with the conviction of her resolved state of mind consciousness. Apparently, she was in a state of better poise than she had been in last few days. She walks up to receive him.

“Shiv, I won’t give you any reasons to complain from now on. I am now ready.”

“May the rising Sun bless you with light and warmth in your consciousness for you to embark on a self-energized journey, which unravels novel and nourishing life experiences.”

“Thank you so much Shiv. Every morning with you is pushing me to something novel but today, I feel, I am more with me in a state, which you have been telling me to be, a state of better poise and harmony with myself. Can you tell me; is it because of this beautiful place, your soul-searching words or something else?”

“Melissa, this is something like a magic, which works for all of us and we usually are so oblivious of our own potential as the master magician. The magic is within you, nothing external to you has any impact on you. It is like, you have unconsciously orchestrated a magical symphony, are ecstatic to experience the music and then look for who played it for you!”

“Oh my God! Shiv, why should you always give me credit for everything nice, which happens to me? What I have done? I am just what I am!”

“Come with me, let us walk to the place where we sat on the first day. I shall explain it to you, while we walk. Melissa, the magic is what you have created and benefitted from. Our consciousness is a strange entity. The entire scientific community is working to unravel the mystery of the consciousness; how it is the way it is. Still, there are realisms, which are self-evident and you can corroborate by experiencing it yourself. Deep within our consciousness are the instinctive choices of flight and fight. Once your conscious mind decided that you have to face it and fight it out, come what may, your entire body-mind mechanism spreads this resolve to every cell. As we walk, you can smell the morning fragrances of flowers blossoming all around. As the flowers bloom, the entire milieu simply becomes a facilitative catalyst to spread the fragrance. Similarly, once your conscious mind blossoms your resolve that you are going to face it with conviction, the neuro-electrical and neuro- chemical milieus within your body-mind mechanism starts to spread the fragrance and every cell of your existence cam smell it. The magic is ethereal. It expresses itself in settled and deep emotions of singular consciousness. You created the magic and it spread to your being and now that ever