Reincarnate Now – Said J Krishnamurthy

Once when JK was asked whether he believed in reincarnation, he shot back: I  don’t know about that, but we all need to reincarnate HERE & NOW!

This is indeed a profound statement. What did he mean by that? I will answer this with a story from our mythology. This is the story of Bhola Shankar, which I read recently. Among the myriad Hindu Gods and Goddesses, I particularly like reading about Shiva. He is depicted as an uncouth nomad with  matted hair, serpent around his neck, ash smeared on his body, living among the dead in crematoria and having goblins as His followers. One may ask how could anyone depict a God like that. The answer lies in just one great quality which reveals His inner beauty. That is His naivety or innocence. His other popular name Bhola Sankar aptly captures this quality. Innocence is the essence of His personality.  He is not clever – in fact, very often appears to become a victim of other’s cleverness. Since He is not exposed to the influences of culture, He is an example of a completely unconditioned person. And this is what makes Him think creatively and out of the Box. Here is a  story of Bhola Sankar which gives us glimpses of His innocence and pure intelligence, unadulterated or unpolluted by worldly ideas or thoughts:

After Parvati got married to Shiva, she asked him to find a dwelling place for them to stay. Being a nomad, He was puzzled at the thought of a dwelling place and asked her innocently why did she need one. Parvati responded with a counter question: How will you protect me from the summer heat? Shiva replied: We could comfortably stay under a great Banyan tree. Disappointed at His answer, Parvati asked again: How will you protect me from the cold during the winter days? Shiva was quick to respond. He said: We will stay in the cemeteries where there is constant fire  to keep us warm. Exasperated, Parvati wanted to know how he would keep her away from the rains, thinking He would have no answer.  Shiva had a ready answer. He said : That is no problem. I will carry you above the clouds where we could enjoy roaming around the world!

That is the character of Shiva. Completely unaffected by the world around Him, He has no concept of owning a land or property. Such concepts are, after all,  products of culture and civilization.

The story doesn’t end there. Hearing about Parvati’s wish for a dwelling place, Shiva’s devotee Ravana built a grand palace for Him. Impressed at the beauty of the palace, Shiva wanted to gift Ravan something in return. When He offered Ravan a boon, the latter cleverly asked Him to gift the very palace he built for Him! Not just that, Ravan wanted  Shiva to gift away His consort Parvati. Shiva, not even conditioned to believe in marital rights, replied: If she is willing to go with you, so be it!

I like this story of  Bhola Shankar because this is indeed the story of all of us before we became worldy-wise. Isn’t it a fact that we were all Bhola Sankars when we were born until we became worldly-wise? Becoming worldly-wise is nothing but being conditioned by family, society, traditions and so on. And we lead our lives as per the formula and standards set by these institutions without ever using our basic intelligence & creativity! This is what JK meant when he said we have to reincarnate NOW. He meant that we have to go back to our roots and become Bhola Shankars!

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