Wednesday, October 01, 2014

True Love

It was wintertime again, and he was achingly lonely.  Beautiful women were all around him, but their beauty was to him like that of decorated, ornately dressed carcasses.  They smelled nice, having bathed in French perfumes.  Their skin was like the moon reflected in a still lake at night.  Their dresses were made of the finest silk and gold.

But he did not want to touch them.  He was repelled by their laborious glamour.  He wanted to experience something which was not crafted.

He had stayed on that island for many years now.  Slowly but surely he had concluded that true love was not to be found there.  That he was going to have to travel far if he wanted to have a glimpse of it.

After a night of revelry and drunkenness, when all were in oblivion, he packed a few garments and some food, walked to the ocean, silently released the sailboat from the harbor, and set sail.

Many days went by till he saw another soul.  He was now on an island hundreds of miles away from his home.  And it was here that he met the hermit.

The hermit patiently listened to his quest for true love, and asked him to contemplate on what he meant by "love", and how would he know when he had found it.

The man told the hermit that "love" could not be explained, that he would know when he found it.  But the hermit was stubborn and insisted on an answer.

The seeker was perplexed.  Love for him was a matter of the heart, and how could he capture it in words?

A few things became clear to him as he wondered about his quest.  Why, if he was seeking "true love", was he seeking it from a woman?  Why was the womanhood so important?  And why the desire for physical closeness?  And what was the nature of the love emanating from his beloved?

He concluded that "true love" was love without any involvement of the mind.  When two people just reveled in each other's closeness without knowing or understanding why.

And he realized that "true love" directed at someone specific was possible only for a man who was ignorant about the evolution and the machinery of life.

Crestfallen, he went back to the hermit and told him "Love is no more a mystery to me.  I no longer wish to live."

The hermit pointed at a fire in the forest in the far distance.  Nobody understood how it had come about.  It had been raging for many years now.  Some speculated it was lightning.  Some thought it came from the bowels of the earth.

The hermit then gathered some dry wood and twigs, and tried to light them by rubbing together two small sticks.  There were sparks, and quickly there was a small fire.  Heat, light, the sound of wood crackling.  It was fascinating.  There were endless variations to the flame.

The man from the island was getting almost transfixed by the blaze.  The hermit looked at his eyes, and amused, suddenly stood up and urinated over the burning wood.  There was a hissing sound and the fire was extinguished.  Some embers still remained.

The man was angry at the hermit and wanted an explanation.

The hermit said: "It is only when you look at your knowledge with disdain that you are distressed by it.  I know how that fire was lit.  But I did not have to therefore put it out."

The man stayed awake the whole night pondering over what the hermit had said.

The next morning, he touched the hermit's feet and said, "I have but one last question.  What is beauty if it is all shallow?"

The hermit looked at him somberly and said, "Those little sticks that started the fire, are they not to be treasured?"

The man bade the hermit farewell and went back to his island.  And on the way he bought a resplendent robe for himself.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Are you going to get a robe for yourself too?