In front of him sat the astrologer, rolling his fingers over his horoscope, looking up books and adjusting his spectacles. Srinivasan wondered about this mysterious diagram that the astrologer looked through, these magic squares that could transform his life for good or for bad.
He reflected on his life this far, on the various situations and circumstances that it was built up of, about the kinds of people who were part of it and had an impact on him to be the way he had turned out today. Were they all incidental or were they all part of a larger phenomenon... a science whose interpretation was currently being done by a man who he didn’t know but for some reason trusted that he would get his math right.
The man looked up, through his glasses and uttered a few words. His answers were short and his predictions clear.
"This year is not good for you, there will be trouble, in fact it has already started and it will get over next year about the same time..."
Srinivasan's heart sank again, on one side were his emotions asking all the Gods present in the room on what wrong he had done. And then his mind took over, it must have been something really nasty he had done in his previous birth, maybe that is why they say "Be good, if you can’t do better than that". Yet, he had to prepare himself for all the eventualities that would hit him in the days to come whether he was responsible for them or not.
Srinivas felt pain in his heart, to think that he would have to put up with any calamities that he would face given that plenty of such events had already passed by in his life and he had not felt very good about them. Yet he knew that cursing the Gods or the lesser stars or his fate was not the method to tide over these difficult times. He had to find himself a better solution. Fate always had its way, and the planets always seemed to have theirs, and people will be people... In fact he often laughed at how the events unfolded as they set him up for a human trial, how totally strange and yet logical were these twists and turns that he had by now begun to understand not just how the world around him works, but how the superior world of greater beings make use of the world around him and forces a different perception. How weirdly strange and yet so creative were the events that had made an impact on him to change himself just a bit into being either someone else or just made him a lot more defensive.
Srinivasan breathed hard and long, staring at the little paper that had a scribble of the squares of his horoscope that made up his universe. This little diagram was leading him up a dance, a difficult one where he soon realized that the people he interacted with were just a bunch of worthless pawns whose default temperaments were being made use of to create deeper, complex circumstances through which he had to wade... wisely... to save himself through lesser impact.
The ancient rule of fate, is a far more serious affair back home in India, and much as he adapted to the changing world, somethings were too far deep to throw away. The only path left for him was to turn to his divine Guru to lead him through this jungle of messed up temperaments.
It had been 8 months, things were not looking up for Srinivas and as he pushed back a few really deep pitfalls, he decided to still hold strong. He learned hard and well with time, there were two things he was going to do.
One was never to curse the Gods or his Guru, instead he remembered that moment of deep anguish when he hid away from all humanity for half an hour and cried his heart out in pain as he waded through one gruesome event that hit his conscience real hard, a strong wakeup call on how men had fallen in conscience and how the world had so drastically changed around him, and yet he was strong in the head that he would not blame anyone for it. He cried out to Lord Shiva, to his Guru, to help him through this pain... he cried like a baby, waiting for his Supreme Lord to pick him up and help him walk again.
The second thing he learned to do was be silent through the bad time. He waited in silence, not ruffling anyone's feathers, not opinionating, no showing his anger or frustration, not reacting to anything... and he felt it was half the battle won. But he also realized that it killed his confidence when he had to react to situation and he didn’t have the wisdom to detect how much and how far he could go without getting a hit in return. But yet, he chose the wisdom to keep silent and aloof from the world till these horrible times were gone.
It was difficult because he decided he wouldn't be like them, he wouldn’t succumb. He would not be diplomatic to please the worthless, or lie or be political and try to please the world around him. This was him and he was not going to change that. He only sensed deep aversion towards the world of people outside... around him...
It was mentally tiring, it sapped most of his energy, he almost began to look at everyone as a potential suspect who had come into his world to mess with him and upset his tranquility. He realized his worst fear, he now almost trusted no one, he stood so alone that anyone who came by, appeared more like a potential problem than a person he would love to be happy with. While he didn’t choose to please or upset any, he also realized a strong sense of being a complete misfit in the middle of these people, he almost felt they were a different species, built with a temperament totally different from his. He hastily retreated back into his safe haven, his land where only his Great Lord Shiva reigned, and his Guru showed him the path to the divine.
Was this detachment he wondered, when he was mentally forsaking the world outside and going inwards because he trusted no one else except these two superior beings, who were now not just his Teacher, they were his everything... every role applied on this... parent, friend... everything.
Srinivas realized that being himself was not helping him too much at this time, being someone else was not something he could pull off with ease and he detested the very idea. But he felt safe, when he looked at the larger picture, with love, patience, and most of all Bhakti and undivided, complete surrender to the Lord and his Master, to deliver him from this mesh of illusions and perceptions within which he was locked - this samsara. He wanted the ultimate freedom, he was ready for the ultimate surrender and these troubled times were a journey for him to learn the art of spiritual progress.
He reflected on the line, "Forgive them Lord, for they don’t know what they are doing". It just made so much sense. He learned the art of compassion, of forgiveness. He learned to let go.