(SLIGHTLY REVISED AND UPDATED. PLEASE IGNORE TYPOS)
The mother and son had been sitting under the canopy of stars for hours. Neither had spoken a word. He knew she was sad but he knew she was full of love. For him as for everyone and everything that came within her range.
He was sitting with his head sunk between his knees. Slowly, he lifted his eyes and gave his mother a full glance, gentle but full. And from the stillness of the valley emerged a soft, almost inaudible voice, "Mother."
There was a pause as she gently looked up, placed her hand on his hair which had already begun to thin. The gentle thrust of the hand seemed to pull him towards her. Soon, her soft warm breath was on his arm which she held close to her neck. And then she let go of it, and both sat like two savants, tired yet fulfilled.But there was some disquiet in his soul.
"Mother," he repeated in a soft voice, " why has destiny willed it thus for me? I have committed sins and have been thwarted at the doors of destiny. ...."
"You have committed no sins but mistakes," she stopped him. "There are no sins to be committed but mistakes can be just as punishing."
"Is there a destiny?" he asked after a long pause. Saying that, he threw his head in her lap, closed his eyes and said in a voice of resignation and pain,"Please speak to me, mother."
She looked at his sad face, placed her right hand almost weightlessly on his cheek, and spoke in a voice which was a little sad but not disturbed. Her words seemed to drop gently like dew-drops from another universe. And then she softly moved him away, resting his head on the big protrusion of the root of the peepal tree. And she moved away and sat at some distance from him and she said:
" Choose a destiny for yourself. Choose a "yourself" for that destiny. Make sure both deserve each other. Then, sit back, relax and enjoy a most fulfilling love affair that you will ever see and experience. If you have chosen the two well, that will lead not only to a thrilling life-long romance between the two but also to a progeny worthy of future. That progeny you will call a "happy and successful adventure called life." Remember that in life that which is not worthy of a brave present will never be worthy of beautiful future. This is what is meant by only the brave deserving the fair. Most of the misery and failures in our life are born out of a mismatch between the two. Like all mis-marriages, the mismatch between your worth and your dreams, between your present and your future can only lead to agony. "
She paused to give his half-sleeping visage a close loving look. But he indicated with a slight movement of his hands that he was listening. And she continued," If you find that either you or your destiny are falling short of each other, end the marriage immediately, sit down alone in a closed room, re-script either your future goals or your present strength. Nature loves a balance, and you can not be happy for ever if the balance between your worth and your dreams is disturbed. There is no such thing as God in this universe, but there surely is something called Order. Some prophets have called that Order "His Will", some others sing of "Huqam " while still others call it a "Word" or "shabad" or "Kalma". All these are poetic symbols used by great minds who knew that human language is inadequate to express the infinite Truth. They have relied on myths and metaphors and symbols and signs to point towards what they saw clearly. You can also see it clearly if you accept that it is not a thing of the mind but of your whole being.'
The meaning of her words was beginning to drip into his mouth like manna dew. He turned his eyes away to look intoo the distant mountains that appeared to move away and then move closer , much like the expanding and contracting of lungs.
He closed his eyes, and with his eyes cooly shut, he asked: "What is it it that is not a thing of one's mind and yet is a thing of one's whole being?"
"There is only one sentiment," she replied as if she had never been interrupted and as if her words were not an answer to his question but just the continuation of a lullaby she had been singing. "There is only only one experience that gets your whole being moving in one direction, towards one goal. That experience, that sentiment is love. There is none other known in this universe," she said, looking more past him than at him. " But by getting your being to move in one direction, towards one goal, this experience opens you up to the whole universe because that is the nature of this universe. It gives itself unto you through the smallest particle that exists. Love that particle and it will lead you to a revelation of the whole universe. The universe surrenders to one who knows how to love even the smallest thing that exists, because all these smallest things are like children of the universe. A mother would surrender herself to you if you completely and selflessly love any of her children. This universe behaves exactly as a mother does. That is why a mother is sometimes likened to God. That is why a particles is said to contain a universe. That is why love is likened to God. There is no other God than love, but there needn't be. Love takes you where God is. God resides in compassion and humility and selflessness and sacrifice and God resides in joy that flows forth from all these. Only love makes compassion and humility and sacrifice and selflessness possible," she said, and then suddenly paused to check if he was listening. He was.
She got up from where she was and looked at the skiy which seemd to be speaking through a language of profound silence. She felt the sky was speaking through her, that her words were not her own but were being delivered through her by a force that surrounded everyone everywhere. She took a deep breath and then resumed," When you love something, someone, you are making a declaration that someone outside of you matters more than you do; you are also making a declaration that you want to be worthy.At the same time, you are also climbing a mountain and announcing that you are larger than you are, that you are a God unto yourself. Have you noticed that mountains and prophets have something common between them? It is not just about their heights. It is about their courage to expose themselves to heights, the courage to be seen from afar, to be seen by everyone from every direction. Mountain and a prophets have nothing to hide; so they are anxious to declare themselves and be seen from as far as possible. Sermons on the mount have only this thing about them: open-ness under the skies. The sermons will one day die, become irrelevant and outdated. But love that inspired them and the mountain that cased it will last for ever.As I said, a lover is only trying to be worthy. A beloved, even she does not know or accept it, is also trying to be worthy of the lover whom she seems not to accept. The day their preparations are complete, the day both are worthy, love takes them over and they reach their destiny. Destiny is nothing but your worth given a living body. Never try to be successful or happy. Try to be worthy; the rest will follow, " she continued. Her slightly moist eyes were beginning to reflect the dim light of the stars
" I say this to you because you are beginning to understand. And because I love you. And because I know how much you love me, though you think that your errant life is in the way of your love for me. It is not.That was only a preparation. You have embarked on your journey and nothing -- not even you - can stop yourself from reaching your destiny. You have cheated, you have lied, you have visited brothels, you have been unfair to women just as much as some women have been unfair to you."
She paused a little, as if to breathe in a landscape of pain yet peace. She took a deep breath and then she continued again: " As a woman, I can not forgive you. But as a mother, I am proud and happy that in all this, you have not allowed love in your heart to die. You are as likely to give up everything you have for a little suffering child in the arms of an ailing mother as you are to lose everything in the lap of a woman this society would call bad. ...."
Suddenly he felt he was on the sprawling plains of Kurukshtra, several centuries back in time. And the words of his mother appeared to drop from a racing chariot and from the lips of a warrior who carried no weapons, a warrior who seemed to be smiling even in the midst ofa rain of arrows.