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Chapter 14: With Infinite Awaiting

Mahavira wanted to convey this by his use of the word shramana for the seeker. Truth is attained by shrama, labor. The truth is not alms given in charity, it is an attainment. You need will, constant effort and infinite awaiting. Truth is infinite, and therefore an infinite awaiting and patience are necessary for it. The divine only descends in endless awaiting. Those who have no patience cannot attain God. In these moments of our parting, I wanted to remind you of this as well.

Finally, I am reminded of a story. Although quite imaginary, it is perfectly true.

An angel passed a spot where an old monk was sitting. The monk said to the angel, “Please ask God how long it will still take for me to attain to liberation.” Near the old monk a very young, newly-initiated sannyasin lived under a banyan tree. The angel also asked the young sannyasin if he wanted him to ask God about his liberation as well. But the sannyasin did not say a word. He was quiet, calm and silent.

After some time the angel returned. He said to the old monk, “I asked God about your liberation. He says it will take three more lifetimes.”

The old man grew furious and his eyes became bloodshot. He threw away his rosary and said, “Three more lifetimes! It’s atrocious!”

Then the angel went to the young man under the banyan tree and said to him, “I also asked God about you. He said you will have to practice your spiritual discipline for as many lifetimes as there are leaves on the banyan tree under which you are sitting.”

The young sannyasin’s eyes filled with bliss, he jumped up and began to dance saying, “In that case I have attained! There are so many trees on the earth and so many leaves on each of them! If I will attain to the divine in only as many births as there are leaves on this small banyan tree, then I have already attained right now.”

This is the milieu in which one reaps the harvest of truth. And do you know the end of this story? The young sannyasin kept on dancing and dancing and in that dance itself, that very moment he became liberated, he attained to the divine. That moment of tranquility and of infinite love and awaiting was everything. Such a moment itself is the liberation. This I call infinite awaiting. And he who has infinite awaiting attains everything here and now. This state of being is itself that attainment.

Are you ready for such an awaiting? With this question I bid you farewell. May existence give you strength that the river of your life reaches the ocean of truth. This is my wish and my prayer.