The Road To Nowhere
Illustrating the importance of an enlightened master in your life - By Urmila Pandey
Reading time: 3 minutes
Imagine. The night is dark, dreary, thundery, and cold. You are trying to find your way through a blanket of dense fog in vain. Howling winds lash against your face, pushing you back in defiance. And every step you take is even more laborious due to the heavy burden you lug on your shoulders. You hobble, hungry and tired, eyes desperately searching the roadside for a glimpse of a signpost. ‘If only there were some light, I could see where I am heading. The night is pitch-black, and even the stars have deserted me. Please help me, O Lord.’
Just then, you find yourself at a crossroads. Flashes of lightning reveal two paths going in diametrically opposite directions. One seems broad, well-traversed, probably leading to a bustling city. The other is a narrow, ill-paved, muddy country road to some obscure place. ‘There is a good chance of getting a hitchhike ride on the tarmac road. I don’t know where the less trodden country road will take me.’
As you are about to head that way, another lightning flash reveals a signpost hidden behind a bush on the city road. It reads: ‘The road to nowhere.’ As your knees buckle and you break down in tears of utter hopelessness, you feel the warmth of a tender hand over your head.
You look up through a haze of tears and gaze into the most piercing eyes ever. Such serenity, such contentment, such wisdom the beaming face exudes. The wise one smiles and, without saying a word, heads towards the untraversed road. With a captivated heart, you follow mutely. Unknown to you, the burden has dropped off your shoulders. Light in heart and mind, your steps have a new-found buoyancy.
The thundery clouds have mysteriously disappeared, and the full moon shines gloriously, silhouetting the sublime form of the wise one against the horizon. As you follow the footsteps assuredly, whistling softly to yourself without a care in the world, your eyes happen to glance at a small signpost that reads: ‘The road to awakening.’
We are all running a race called life. It begins at the maternity ward and ends at the crematorium. On the way, we pass many milestones: school, college, relationships, settling down in a job, raising a family, and ticking off the bucket list of desires wherever possible.
The race is full of hurdles – failures, losses, disappointments, and diseases. We mull along as everyone else does until we hit the dreaded milestone: death.
It is not that there are no successes, gains, achievements, and sensory pleasures on the way, but the intriguing bit is that the pleasure derived is always fleeting. There is no sense of lasting fulfilment, and contentment remains elusive. No matter how wealthy one becomes, how successful one becomes, how much globe-trotting one does, how many relationships one acquires, how much one indulges in sensory pleasures - there is a peculiar void inside that never seems to get filled.
A sense of incompleteness, and meaninglessness, keeps gnawing inside, and we try to cover this by immersing the mind in food, drinks, clubs, relationships, friends, or thrill-seeking. ‘If I get just that, I will be happy.’ Thus, we keep running and running in the hope that the road will finally end in eternal fulfilment.
And before we know it, death ends the race. But even death doesn’t terminate the race forever. As per the law of karma, our desires and fruits of previous actions propel us into another life, another race, another struggle.
The serendipitous entry of an awakened master into one’s life is the turning point. Until then, we don’t realise we are running on a road that goes nowhere. The master shows us the path to eternal fulfilment. From running like headless chickens in the ephemeral world, the master teaches us how to dive within.
The enlightened being points out that the source of ever-lasting joy and contentment is right within us. Having awakened to the highest reality, the compassionate master helps us awaken to the same.
From illusion to reality, from darkness to light, from mortality to immortality, from nowhere to now here. Thanks to the master, the race will finally be over.