Mar 1, 2011

The Power Of faith (NaBloPoMo Post # 1)

 

Tomorrow is Shivratri, Lord Shiva’s birthday and somehow I always associate Lord Shiva with Peace, serenity, solitude, mountains and snow. That is why I am so fond of going to Kedarnath. I find the scenic beauty as well as the spiritual grandeur of that place unparalleled to anywhere else. I have blogged about my visit to Kedarnath here and here.
Whenever I think of Kedarnath, I am reminded of a certain old gentleman we met when we went there a few years back. We were a group of around 10 people, all of us in our 20s and 30s except one old gentleman who was then in his late 70s. He was the uncle of our friend ‘S’ and soon we had all started calling him Uncle. He had a round and cheerful face and was very sprightly inspite of his age. He was filled with incredible enthusiasm and zest for life. All through the journey he regaled us with countless stories about Shanti Niketan where he had spent most of his life. Inspite of the huge age difference between us, we were really having fun with him. We reached Rishikesh late evening and decided to make the night halt there. After dinner we were all sitting in the guest house lawn talking when uncle suddenly fainted. One moment he was walking towards us and the other he had collapsed on the grass. Fortunately there was a clinic nearby and we could get a doctor quickly. The problem was low blood sugar and uncle revived after he was given some sugar water and sweets. In no time he had regained his cheerfulness and had dismissed the whole incident laughingly.
The next day we reached Gaurikund, the last stop before the climb to the temple starts. The previous day’s incident was still fresh in our minds and we asked uncle if he was sure he wanted to climb up till the temple as it is at a very high altitude. “Off course I will come” he said. “How can I go back without darshan when I am so close to my destination? “. He seemed unperturbed when we pointed out the health risks to him. A few of us brave souls decided to climb up the 17 kms till the temple. The rest decided to go by Ponies. Except uncle, he wanted to walk with us. We looked at him as if he was crazy and in one voice told him to get atop a pony. He refused. He said he was confident he could make it walking and there was no way he was going to the temple of Mahadev sitting on a poor animal’s back. No amount of pleading and argument worked. He was adamant. He told us that we were too pessimistic and that he was sure nothing would happen to him. He looked so determined and had so much faith that he would reach the temple safely that we all reluctantly agreed although deep in our hearts we were very apprehensive. The first few kms passed easily, we climbed at a steady pace, laughing and making jokes. But as the climb grew steeper, the air became thinner and the weather became more and more unpredictable till it finally started to rain. Breathless, tired and cold we were all feeling out of sorts. All, except Uncle. He was as cheerful as ever and told us not to concentrate on the negatives but enjoy the scenic beauty around us and think about the wonderful temple we were about to visit. We were amazed by his attitude. Here he was, nearly three times our age, frail and definitely not in the best of health yet he was walking undaunted, almost without any worry. We could see he was tired and panting with exertion, but the smile never left his lips and when he was not chanting mantras and singing bhajans he was pointing at the rare flowers on the path or at the snow peaks with child like delight and enthusiasm.
By the time we reached the half way mark almost all of us had given up and decided to cover the rest of the distance on ponies. We tried to persuade uncle to take a pony as well. He waved us on cheerfully and told us not to worry, “Mahadev will take care of me”.  S decided to walk with Uncle. The rest of us found ponies for ourselves. Finally we reached the small guesthouse we had booked near the temple, tired but ecstatic at having made it. Now we all waited anxiously for uncle and S to make their way to the top. We were quite worried and wondered how uncle was faring and what S would do if uncle collapsed on the way .They appeared after 2-3 hrs, S looked exhausted and barely in a state to talk. He simply collapsed in a chair. But what shocked us was uncle. We were prepared to meet a very tired if not sick uncle and had even discussed what to do in case we faced a medical problem. Uncle was undoubtedly tired, but his humor and enthusiasm were intact. Not once did he complain of the bad weather, or of the difficult climb, or of his aching joints. In fact he broke into a Bhajan as soon as he saw us, he was so happy and filled with devotion. S later told us that even he had started to feel the strain at the end of the journey and thought that he couldn’t make the last 2-3 kms. It was uncle, himself tired and worn out who had edged him on, motivating him!

We were amazed. So frail of body yet so strong in faith Uncle had managed to achieve the impossible. I don’t know how he did it, was it his unwavering faith, his willpower or simply the power of positive thinking? What do YOU think?

3 comments:

  1. You know, I always say that our generation sometimes ignores the power of blind faith and what it can accomplish from the human mind & body.

    I totally believe that this would have been because of his faith which triggered the power of his mind & body.

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  2. I think our previous generations were by far, stronger both in mind and body, that we are, or can be!!! My grandma is the same... we would all go on a long walk, and return home grumpy and tired, but she, at 75, would be enthusiastic about preparing dinner! We would wonder where she got this amazing zest from :-)

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  3. @Prats- Yes,faith is indeed a powerful thing !
    @writerzblock - yes I agree they were strong both mentally and physically and I think they had the strength to endure much more than we do !

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